Live on Artnet Auctions: This monumental Andreas Gursky photograph captures the eerie beauty of North Korea’s mass celebrations

During his decades-long career, the German-born photographer Andreas Gursky used photography to create innovative large-scale abstractions that are underlined by powerful social commentary. These monumental large-format photographs most often explore themes of Western consumer society, using techniques that blur the lines between documentation and abstraction. Pyongyang III (2007) moves away from the artist’s frequent exploration of Western hypercapitalism to explore the beauty and formal structure of a mass celebration orchestrated by North Korea’s totalitarian regime. Until September 29, bid on Pyongyang III (2007) in Important photographs to Artnet auctions.

Gursky was born in Leipzig, East Germany, in 1955, the son and grandson of commercial photographers. During his studies at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf under the supervision of Bernd and Hilla Becher, Gursky drew inspiration from the Becher’s systematic documentation of industrial landscapes. Gursky took the medium one step further by digitally manipulating his works, taking photographs from a high vantage point and stitching together multiple images to create monumental abstractions in dizzying detail.

Pyongyang III (2007) is one of five photographs taken by Gursky at the Arirang Festival in North Korea, held to commemorate the birth of former North Korean leader Kim II Sung and to celebrate the power of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The event is held in the Rungrado May Day stadium, the largest stadium in the world. Gursky contrasts the festive energy of tens of thousands of artists with our knowledge of the totalitarian regime behind this performance. Pyongyang III (2007) therefore serves as a metaphor for the dichotomies of our current world: the individual against the group, the detail against the whole, digital manipulation against reality.

Detail of Pyongyang III, which captures the artists of the Arirang festival in North Korea.

Opportunities to collect Gursky’s work, especially pieces of this size and stature, are rare. In fact, only 10 photographs of Gursky have appeared at auction so far this year. Another photograph capturing the Arirang festival, Pyongyang II, sold for $ 378,000 in June 2021, proving the demand for these fascinating photographs.

This work, estimated between $ 300,000 and $ 400,000, offers a unique opportunity to add to your collection a monumental piece by a founding artist. Don’t miss the opportunity to bid on Pyongyang III (2007) now until September 29.

Do not hesitate to contact the specialist for this work, Susanna Wenniger, for any questions or concerns.

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