Sensational photos of North Korea’s mass games, by record holder for the most expensive photograph ever sold
Renowned for his large-format colour photographs charting themes of globalised society at work and play, Andreas Gursky’s production employs the digital technology to capture and refine an astounding compilation of detail on an epic scale. The perspective in many of Gursky’s photographs is drawn from an elevated vantage point. This position enables the viewer to encounter scenes, encompassing both centre and periphery, which are ordinarily beyond reach.
For the Pyongyang series (2007), Gursky travelled to the Arirang Festival, held annually in North Korea in honour of the late Communist leader Kim Il Sung. The festival’s mass games include more than 50,000 participants performing tightly choreographed acrobatics, against a backdrop of 30,000 schoolchildren holding coloured flip-cards that produce an ever-changing mosaic of patterns and images. Gursky’s photographs describe, in panoramic dimensions, the incongruity of the brilliant colours and smiling faces of the performers within the controlled, totalitarian nature of the event.
Andreas Gursky was born in Leipzig and lives and works in Düsseldorf, Germany. Since the 1980s he has exhibited extensively, including major solo exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, MCA Chicago and SF MOMA, San Francisco.
Installation view by Wilfried Petzi
Photos by Andreas Gursky. Courtesy of Monika Sprüth / Philomene Magers
The work of world-renowned art photographer Andreas Gursky (b. 1955 in Leipzig, Germany) who lives and works in Düsseldorf, Germany represents a revaluation of realism within contemporary photography through conceptual staging and digital image editing. For his exhibition at the Museum Kunstpalast Gursky has selected 60 works from his oeuvre. Waiving a chronological hanging the mix of old and new, small and very large format works allows new and unusual views of Gursky’s photography.
The spectrum of Gursky’s work includes topics such as architecture, landscape, interiors, as well as large events with huge crowds. In the Düsseldorf exhibition, whose arch spans of works from the early 1980s up to the series of works Ocean I-VI, 2010, or Bangkok, 2011, Andreas Gursky is presenting some of his latest, as yet not publicly exhibited works.
“It is not pure photography, what I do,” Gursky describes his own work. “All my pictures are based on a direct visual experience from which I develop an idea for a picture, which is subjected to testing in the studio and eventually worked on and precised at the computer.”
The exhibition runs until January 13, 2013