Andreas Gursky’s sensational photos of North Korea’s mass games

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andreas-gursky-pyongyang-I1
Andreas GurskyPyongyang I, 2007, c-print, 307 x 215,5cm
© Andreas Gursky / VG Bild-Kunst. Courtesy: Monika Sprüth / Philomene Magers

Published: August 30, 2013

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About Andreas Gursky

Renowned for his large-format color photographs charting themes of globalized 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 center and periphery, which are ordinarily beyond reach.

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.

Andreas Gursky’s trip to North Korea

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 colored flip-cards that produce an ever-changing mosaic of patterns and images. Gursky’s photographs describe, in panoramic dimensions, the incongruity of the brilliant colors and smiling faces of the performers within the controlled, totalitarian nature of the event.

Photos

Andreas Gursky - Pyongyang II Diptychon, 2007
Andreas GurskyPyongyang II, Diptychon, 2007, c-print
© Andreas Gursky / VG Bild-Kunst. Courtesy: Monika Sprüth / Philomene Magers

Andreas Gursky – Pyongyang II, Diptychon, 2007, c-print, 207 x 258,7cm each, North Korea, Arirang Mass Games
Andreas GurskyPyongyang II, Diptychon, 2007, c-print, 207 x 258,7cm each
© Andreas Gursky / VG Bild-Kunst. Courtesy: Monika Sprüth / Philomene Magers

Andreas Gursky – Pyongyang II, Diptychon, 2007, c-print, 207 x 258,7cm eachAndreas GurskyPyongyang II, Diptychon, 2007, c-print, 207 x 258,7cm each
© Andreas Gursky / VG Bild-Kunst. Courtesy: Monika Sprüth / Philomene Magers

Andreas Gursky - Pyongyang III, 2007
Andreas GurskyPyongyang III, 2007, framed, c-print, 221,8 x 453,7cm
© Andreas Gursky / VG Bild-Kunst. Courtesy: Monika Sprüth / Philomene Magers

Andreas Gursky – Pyongyang III, 2007, c-print, 221,8 x 453,7cm
Andreas GurskyPyongyang III, 2007, c-print, 221,8 x 453,7cm
© Andreas Gursky / VG Bild-Kunst. Courtesy: Monika Sprüth / Philomene Magers

Andreas Gursky - Pyongyang IV, 2007
Andreas GurskyPyongyang IV, 2007, c-print, 304.5 x 207 cm
© Andreas Gursky / VG Bild-Kunst. Courtesy: Monika Sprüth / Philomene Magers

Andreas Gursky - Pyongyang IV, 2007
Andreas GurskyPyongyang IV, 2007, c-print, 304.5 x 207 cm, Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, Los Angeles
© Andreas Gursky/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

Andreas Gursky – Pyongyang V, 2007
Andreas GurskyPyongyang V, 2007, c-print
© Andreas Gursky / VG Bild-Kunst. Courtesy: Monika Sprüth / Philomene Magers

Andreas Gursky - Pyongyang VI, 2007, Arirang Mass Games
Andreas GurskyPyongyang VI, 2007
© Andreas Gursky / VG Bild-Kunst. Courtesy: Monika Sprüth / Philomene Magers

Andreas Gursky - Pyongyang VII, 2007, Arirang Mass Games
Andreas GurskyPyongyang VII, 2007
© Andreas Gursky / VG Bild-Kunst. Courtesy: Monika Sprüth / Philomene Magers

Hand Gun Cover Variant of book by Andreas Gursky, Published on the occasion of exhibitions at Monika Sprüth-Philomene Magers Gallery, London, and Matthew Marks Gallery, New York
Hand gun cover Variant of book by Andreas Gursky, Published on the occasion of exhibitions at Monika Sprüth-Philomene Magers Gallery, London, and Matthew Marks Gallery, New York

Andreas Gursky - Installation view of Haus der Kunst in München, Germany, 2007
Andreas Gursky – Installation view at Haus der Kunst in München, Germany, 2007
Photo by Wilfried Petzi/focus.de

Andreas Gursky portrait - Photo Jan Schmidt-Garre
Andreas Gursky portrait at the Arirang Mass Games, Pyongyang, North Korea, 2007
Photo: Jan Schmidt-Garre/032c.com

All images by Andreas Gursky/Andreas Gursky, VG Bild-Kunst/bildkunst.de, Monika Sprüth / Philomene Magers spruethmagers.com unless otherwise noted.

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