Philippe Chancel – DPRK
Philippe Chancel’s photographs from North Korea are simply remarkable. Chancel joins the ranks of the few photographers in the world that have actually managed to document the impenetrable nation of North Korea. For more than half a century, this enigma of a country has been the personification of a rogue state; North Korea is an incredibly closed and reclusive nation.
Philippe Chancel – Arirang, May Day Stadium, Pyongyang, North Korea, 2006
North Korea’s Mass Games
Every year, North Korea holds a lavish and extravagant celebration for its ruler known as the Arirang celebrations. The Arirang celebrations can be classified in the same category as the Olympic celebrations. The audience is always treated to a highly choreographed show, the likes of which have only ever been seen at the Olympics.
Ai Weiwei – Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn, 1995
Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn as an art is brilliant and a work of total ingenuity, but in between the lines, it says a lot about the artist: his desire to court controversy. The return of Ai Weiwei to China after living in New York City for more than a decade in 1981–1993 marked the beginning of a new form of art, dedicating some of his works to the themes of transformation and destruction. He embarked on collecting ancient vessels with the aim of converting them into contemporary art pieces. Some people viewed this act as a way of collaborating with the ancient artists’ work, but some argued that it was misappropriating the artists’ work without their approval. This act provoked emotions since the urns were considered a form of consumer culture and heritage preservation, especially since he dropped it intentionally.
Oliver Wainwright – National Drama Theatre, Pyongyang, 2015
What Oliver Wainwright discovered in North Korea
Oliver Wainwright North Korean Interiors documents the unique architecture and the interiors of various regions of North Korea and its capital Pyongyang. Not many photographers get the opportunity to explore this isolated country owing to its closed state; however, Wainwright took the opportunity and ran with it. The interiors that he documented were very kitsch and retro as they were originally created to adorn important theaters and buildings that were designed during the Soviet era.
Braco Dimitrijević – Casual Passer-by I met at 11.09 AM, 1971
Braco Dimitrijević’s Casual Passer-By series are a series of canvas based photographs created as from 1971. The works feature large-scale images of people that the artist met in the streets. Each of the pieces comes with the exact time and place where the artist met with the person. However, he did not always put the exact date. These images were then placed on some of the prominent positions on the facades of high traffic areas such as the museum, advertisement displays, or the underground train service.
Eddo Hartmann – Setting the Stage: Pyongyang – Pyongyang women 01, 2014
History of North Korea and its capital Pyongyang
North Korea is known for its fascination and terror in the same measure. Most of the world knows North Korea for its former leader Kim Jong-II and the current Kim Jong Un. However, the fascinating thing about Pyongyang is its architecture.