Archive: capitalism
This North Korean spectacle involves 100,000 participants

This North Korean spectacle involves 100,000 participants

Noh Suntag - Red House I. North Korea in North Korea, 2005 1
Noh Suntag Red House I. North Korea in North Korea, 2005

Noh Suntag has made it his mission to provide the world glimpses of social, historical and political developments of North Korea, which many people do not get to see. Noh produces photographs that record real-life situations that are directly linked to the division of Korea. Some of his works were in particular created to show how deeply the division between the North and South has permeated the daily lives of the Korean citizenry, as well as how the division has distorted the proper functioning of society.

North Korea is a particular subject that is constant in Noh’s themes. North Korea’s obsession with image and the way the country represents itself to the rest of the world by exaggerated manipulation of its images led to Noh’s fascination; in his photo series titled North Korea, Suntag’s photos observe conflict in the contemporary society in Korea.

The conflicts date all the way back to 1948, and they led to the division of Korea into two separate states. Noh perceives the two ideologies of both the north and the south as too extreme, in a manner that has led to a constant state of emergency in Korea. Noh shows this dichotomy through his photographs, highlighting the dictatorship in North Korea, the increased capitalism that has been experienced in South Korea, the high military presence in both countries, and the circumstances both subtle and violent that affect the daily lives of the people living there.

His photographs in North Korea also analyses the social and political ambivalence of the two countries. In this case, the two nations survive in ideological extremities with each other, despite sharing many social and cultural traditions. The presence of political disparities between the two countries, whereby one is an communist state while the other is a capitalist is also highlighted significantly in the North Korea series. Noh also visited the famous Arirang Mass Games in the capital Pyongyang, a national spectacle that involves up to 100,000 participants.

For this work, Noh employed his experience as a remarkable photojournalist, his education in political studies and his creativity to capture the quiet scenes that both reveal the truth and dispel myths about the partition between North Korea and South Korea that exists to this day.

Noh’s views in his pieces including Red House I. North Korea in North Korea, 2005 and the State of Emergency, 2000–07 are unbiased. His analytical position recognizes the lasting political division and polarization of both the government and society. He expertly manages to tie the two nations together while exposing the underlying humanity that encompasses normal life in both the north and south.

Noh Suntag - Red House I. North Korea in North Korea, 2005
Noh Suntag Red House I. North Korea in North Korea, 2005

Noh Suntag - Red House I. North Korea in North Korea, 2005
Noh Suntag Red House I. North Korea in North Korea, 2005

Noh Suntag - Red House I. North Korea in North Korea, 2005
Noh Suntag Red House I. North Korea in North Korea, 2005

Noh Suntag - Red House I. North Korea in North Korea, 2005
Noh Suntag Red House I. North Korea in North Korea, 2005

Noh Suntag - Red House I. North Korea in North Korea, 2005
Noh Suntag Red House I. North Korea in North Korea, 2005

Noh Suntag - Red House I. North Korea in North Korea, 2005
Noh Suntag Red House I. North Korea in North Korea, 2005

Noh Suntag - Red House I. North Korea in North Korea, 2005
Noh Suntag Red House I. North Korea in North Korea, 2005

Noh Suntag - Red House I. North Korea in North Korea, 2005
Noh Suntag Red House I. North Korea in North Korea, 2005

Noh Suntag - Red House I. North Korea in North Korea, 2005
Noh Suntag Red House I. North Korea in North Korea, 2005

Noh Suntag - Red House II. Give and Take, 2005
Noh Suntag Red House II. Give and Take, 2005


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Artist pours slogans on enormous chalkboard in response to rapid change

Artist pours slogans on enormous chalkboard in response to rapid change

Wang Qingsong - Follow Me
Wang Qingsong’sFollow Me, 2003, 120x300cm

Wang Qingsong’s work titled Follow Me, is a social critique featuring both Chinese and English slogans and terminology representing the transitions in Chinese culture, society, and history, that have been facilitated by decades’ economic growth. The text used mainly come from textbooks and manuals. In his work, Follow Me, Wang poses by himself at a desk standing before a cluttered blackboard with hundreds of pieces of written information from a number of disciplines in different languages. Wang’s work is in response to socioeconomic changes in China.

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Artist dissects car and re-composes it piece by piece to create a celebrated artwork

Artist dissects car and re-composes it piece by piece to create a celebrated artwork

Damián Ortega – Cosmic Thing, 2002, Volkswagen Beetle 1983, stainless steel wire, acrylic, Malmö Konsthall
Damián OrtegaCosmic Thing, 2002, Volkswagen Beetle 1983, stainless steel wire, acrylic, Malmö Konsthall

Damián Ortega was born in Mexico City in 1967. He now divides his time between Mexico City and Berlin. He has gained a world-renowned reputation as his works have been exhibited internationally. His career in art began as a political cartoonist, work that has influenced his more recent work, as is evidence in the playful energy often found in his works. Ortega is a multitalented artist who is known for his installations, sculptures, videos and performance pieces. He takes inspiration from a variety of seemingly mundane objects, and is known for his ability to transform the mundane into something that is anything but. Ortega’s work investigates the ways in which culture affects consumption, focusing on explicit economic, aesthetic and cultural situations.

Ortega’s work includes photography, sculpting, collage creation, and film; all which serve to draw audience attention to the sociopolitical and very poetic dimensions of the everyday. It is evident that through his use of satire, Ortega is successful at pointing out the issues and other themes related to capitalism, poverty, globalization, westernization, and immigration.

“Cosmic Thing” (2002), is without a doubt one of his Ortega’s most celebrated works, in which he took apart a Volkswagen Beetle and re-composed it piece by piece, where it was suspended in midair from wires. It could be described as a hanging diagram where you can see each part of the vehicle, dissected for all to see.

The vehicle hangs from the ceiling in an satirical meditation on an evident symbol of mass production and of course, westernization. The Volkswagen Beetle is without a doubt the most perfect symbol of both. The Volkswagen Beetle was originally developed in 1930s in Nazi Germany and became known as both being efficient and the affordable. Following the Second World War the Beetle had great manufacturing success, there were increasing safety regulations in Europe and the United States, and by the 1970s the Beetle was exclusively manufactured in Mexico and Brazil. This soon became the most use car in Mexico City as it was mechanically straightforward and cheap spare parts where always available allowing Do-It-Yourself repairs. This vehicle was not only accessible but functional and commonly seen on the streets around the world.

However, in Ortega’s piece, as the Beetle suspends in the air, disassembled, it is somewhat shocking. This suspended car, looking like a puzzle that needs to be solved, seems so different than the Beetles commonly seen being driven on the streets; So much more empty and cold, yet undeniably mesmerizing.

Ortega’s “Cosmic Thing” causes viewers to think about how several small pieces come together to create one whole thing. This is the case for mundane objects, images, and structures we see every day. Every structure we have ever seen and many of the objects we own is made of several small pieces pulled together to create a complete product for consumption. This once again draws into the ideas surrounding the ways in which culture affects consumption.

Damián Ortega - Cosmic Thing, 2002
Damián OrtegaCosmic Thing, 2002, Volkswagen Beetle 1983, stainless steel wire, acrylic, Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milan, Italy
Photo: Agostino Osio. Courtesy Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milan

Damián Ortega - Cosmic Thing, 2002
Damián OrtegaCosmic Thing, 2002, Volkswagen Beetle 1983, stainless steel wire, acrylic, Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milan, Italy
Photo: Agostino Osio. Courtesy Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milan

Damián Ortega - Cosmic Thing, 2002
Damián OrtegaCosmic Thing, 2002, Volkswagen Beetle 1983, stainless steel wire, acrylic, Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milan, Italy
Photo: Agostino Osio. Courtesy Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milan


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