DocEdge 19 | War of Art

Norway | 2018 | 102 min | English | Tommy Gulliksen

First off, I must emphasise how much I enjoyed War of Art – if you have any interest or curiosity of politics and modern art and how they meet in North Korea, this is for you.

Norwegian director and artist Morten Traavik began collaborating with the regime in 2011 with the aim of introducing the concept of modern art in what would seem an indoctrinated and fascist society, wit the ultimate hope of opening the channels of communication through creative practices.

Traavik brings a group of artists hailing from a range of disciplines, nationalities and backgrounds – all with varied reasons for participating. Some out of genuine curiosity, and others with the desire to stir the proverbial pot. Morten Traavik states in conversation with one of the artists during the film that he loves the clash of cultures they’re experiencing, finds it beautiful. This eventually develops into visible frustration as he and the team of creatives he’s assembled face barrier after barrier.

Due to heavy isolation from the west since the late 40’s, North Korea is still considered an enigma to us on the outside, which heavily fuels the popularity of film such as this. War of Art at it’s roots is a film attempting to document North Korea and it’s politics, rather than the aforementioned artists collaborative project, and really is  fascinating.

Screenings: Auckland 2 June, 10.15AM & 5 June 2.15PM at the Q Theatre; 6 June, 12.30PM at Auckland Art Gallery, and Wellington 16 June, 10.30AM & 19 June, 2.30PM at The Roxy


The 14th DocEdge Festival takes place Auckland 30 May – 9 June and Wellington 13 – 23 June –