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Exhibition: DPRK by Maxime Delvaux

Monument to the Party Foundation. This monument was constructed in Pyongyang under Kim Jong Il's will to mark the 50th anniversary of the founding of the ruling Korean Workers Party. © Maxime Delvaux
Monument to the Party Foundation. This monument was constructed in Pyongyang under Kim Jong Il’s will to mark the 50th anniversary of the founding of the ruling Korean Workers Party. © Maxime Delvaux

logo_loeildelaphotographieAs part of its partnership with the Belgian daily Le Soir, the Musée de la photographie de Charleroi will exhibit, through May 18, 2014, a series shot over ten days in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea by the young Maxime Delvaux.

“I didn’t want to look at the country like a journalist, focusing on the poverty,” said Delvaux, 30, at the exhibition’s January 24th opening. “The idea was to approach North Korea neutrally, with detachment.”

In that regard, we can say that Delvaux’s work is a success. A Belgian photographer specializing in architecture and a 2008 graduate of the INRACI, Delvaux founded the photo collective 354 in 2011 with another photographer. They work in advertising and architecture while pursuing more personal projects like this.

Some might wonder about this “artistic” approach to a country notorious for its oppression of both its people and the press.

Maxime Delvaux à Charleroi (c) Geneviève Delalot
Maxime Delvaux à Charleroi (c) Geneviève Delalot

“I was fascinated by this country that is cut off from the world,” Delvaux told Jean-Marie Wynants of the magazine Photographie Ouverte. “ We have very little information about what goes on there. We don’t really know what it looks like. I’d seen pictures of an incredible hotel, which I photographed myself during my trip. I wanted to see it with my own eyes. So I went with one of the agencies that organizes trips to North Korea. Of course, when we’re there, we know that our freedom will be restricted, and we don’t know what we can expect to photograph. Being it’s is an incredible experience, like going back to the Soviet era.”

His photographs reveal a North Korea that is unlikely to enrage the great leader Kim Jong-un, who has been known to send “journalists” to concentration camps for a spelling mistake in his father’s name.

To see these images, so similar to propaganda, and to hear this young man speak so naively, we may ask ourselves: what is this work and who is it for? Moreover, why are museums and galleries so eager exhibit it? View cameras and landscapes are in fashion. Is that enough?

By exhibiting only three photos, the Musée de la Photographie de Charleroi is more easily excused, unlike the editors at Le Soir, who should know better than to glorify this evil empire.


Read the full article on the French version of L’Oeil.

 

EXHIBITION
Maxime Delvaux
Until May, 18 2014
Musée Photographique de Charleroi
11, avenue Paul Pastur (GPS : Place des Essarts)
B-6032 Charleroi (Mont-sur-Marchienne)
Belgium

Tel. 32 (0)71 43.58.10 – Fax 32 (0)71 36.46.45.

www.museephoto.be
www.maximedelvaux.com
http://uk.phaidon.com/agenda/photography/articles/2013/april/09/how-to-photograph-north-korea/Dernière révision le 26 mars 2024 à 5;07 par Michel Puech

Michel Puech


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