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Fine Art? The Delightful Rebellion of the Tteokbokki Character ‘DUBOKY’


Fine art? The delightful rebellion of the tteokbokki character ‘DUBOKY’

Doosup Jung and Seungjun Sun, two artists who majored in sculpture, met and formed a project team.
They named it THE VOA (The Value Of Art) to question the value of art.
They then parodied controversial works by controversial artists throughout art history with the tteokbokki character DUBOKY.
If Damien Hirst captured a shark in a five-meter-wide tank of formalin to objectify the death of the other as a spectacle in
“The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living” (1991), THE VOA puts leftover tteokbokki DUKY in formalin.
The team, working with graphics and asking “what qualifies art as art,” pokes fun at themselves.

THE VOA, 더 브이오에이, Physical death that is impossible in the mind of tteok-bokki left in the pan, 2022, 3D animation, video output to monitor, 188 × 106 cm

In 1917, Marcel Duchamp called a real urinal a “fountain” and called it art. THE VOA character DUBOKY takes a dip in that “fountain.” What’s up with ‘DUBOKY’?

DUBOKY came out in 2019 as an animated character, and it’s a way of breaking into the elitism of fine art. Who decides if a work is art? The artist, the audience, an institution like a museum? We’re still thinking about the questions that Duchamp posed to the art world in the 20th century. We want to think about it seriously but playfully, and we want the audience to just have fun.

THE VOA, 더 브이오에이, Fountain, 2022, 3D animation, video output to monitor, 53.52 × 95.24 cm

‘DUBOKY’ is a character that combines rice cake ‘DUKI’ and sauce ‘BOKI’, but why tteokbokki?

My workplace is near the Gasan Digital Complex station, and if you take Exit 5, there are six tteokbokki restaurants every 20 meters. When it’s time to go home from work, it’s a real scene of office workers sitting at simple tables eating tteokbokki and drinking alcohol. Tteokbokki is a popular food among young and old. It’s like expecting ‘DUBOKI’, who is friendly to everyone, to play with the audience in the art scene. We will try to spread ‘spicy, sweet and salty’ while moving in and out of art.

THE VOA, 더 브이오에이, Running Bicycle Wheel, 2022, 3D animation, video output to monitor, 53.52 × 95.24 cm

You majored in sculpture, but it’s interesting to see you working with computer graphics for animation.

We have both majored in sculpture, and we want to say that it’s not a coincidence that we’re working with 3D graphics. Is it too much to say that we’ve moved our work from the real world to a virtual space, combining the real world with the virtual world? Just as artists who worked with objects moved to non-materials such as light, we have moved to the virtual world, but we are strangers in the eyes of both fine artists and commercial artists. We want to showcase our work in that liminal space, and the Kiaf PLUS exhibition is the first step.

What can we expect from your future work?

So far, we’ve been focusing on character product development and animation, but we want to create various types of video content, such as media facades. We also want to make immersive videos by utilizing technology to the fullest. You’ll be able to find ‘DUBOKY’ in a more expanded space.

Interview by Heaseung Kang, published on Kiaf 2022 Catalogue