Pyongyang VI by Andreas Gursky

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Sunday, March 11, 2018 - 00:00

Following his image of a crowd of traders on the trading floor in Tokyo, Stock Exchange (1990), Gursky has continued to capture crowds at work and at play, not least in his May Day series (1997–2006), which depicts an annual rave that takes place in Dortmund, Germany. 

Andreas Gursky, Pyongyang VI , 2007/17
Copyright: Andreas Gursky/DACS, 2017 Courtesy: Sprüth Magers

In Pyongyang VI (2007/17), Gursky turns his attention to a very different kind of collective activity. The Arirang Festival, or Mass Games, is a vast gymnastic and artistic event that takes place in North Korea’s capital city Pyongyang.

The Games are held each year in honour of the previous dictator, Kim Il-sung. Gursky photographed the event – which features around 100,000 people including 70,000 gymnasts and over 30,000 school children – from an elevated altar dedicated to Kim Jong-il, in 2007.

The artist has recently returned to the subject, and reviewed previously unpublished material, due to the current political situation in North Korea.

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