DPRK art on display in Vienna this summer

(h/t Werner) According to a reader the MAK Museum Vienna (Museum of Applied Arts, Museum of Contemporary Arts) will hold from May 9-September 5, 2010 a special exhibition of North Korean paintings, posters, and architecture in collaboration with the National Gallery in Pyongyang (located here-satellite image).

According to the MAK Museum:

Art and architecture from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
19.05.2010 – 05.09.2010

Through large format paintings and contemporary positions in the areas of film, poster art, and architecture, the exhibition offers insight into the art production of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. In collaboration with the National Gallery in Pyongyang, MAK has put together a comprehensive show offering the first presentation of the gallery’s original works in a foreign museum.

For several months, visitors to MAK will have the opportunity to gain, in a world premiere, an impression of the culture of the Democratic People‘s Republic of Korea (DPRK). which has been isolated since its founding in 1948. Already in the past, MAK has offered insight into worlds beyond Western art and architecture movements with exhibitions, such as “Art and Revolution. Russian and Soviet Art 1919–1932” (1988), “The Tyranny of the Beautiful: Architecture in the Time of Stalin” (1994), “Architecture Again. The Havana Project” (1997), and “Cine Art. Indian Poster Painters at the MAK” (1999). After years of intense effort, it has been possible to arrange a collaboration with the National Gallery in Pyongyang that aims to present the officially recognized art of the Democratic People’s Republic, in context, and make transparent the development of art within the nation’s political framework. The paintings from the National Gallery, many of which present idealized everyday scenes, are able to offer revealing insight into this country’s largely unknown culture.

A majority of the work is comparable with Soviet Realism. Formally, the artists fall back on stylistic means from Realism and Romanticism: motifs from the working world and the revolutionary struggle are depicted in an academic painterly style, mediating a picture of the ideal world and showing new hero figures: workers, airplane crews and pilots are commonly the protagonists doing the “glorious and good.”

The exhibition will also document with photos, original designs, and models, the special architectural development of Pyongyang, which was entirely destroyed during the Korean War (1950–1953). The model of the Juche Tower, landmark of the city, is hereby attributed special significance. In the Democratic People‘s Republic of Korea, the fine arts developed in a special way under the rule of State founder President Kim Il Sung and his son and successor President Kim Jong Il.

Taking recourse to historical role models, President Kim developed the “Juche” ideology, which postulates the concept of independence as the ideal view of the world. In art, promoted along with portraits and scenes showing heads of state, are primarily motifs displaying the country and life in the Democratic People‘s Republic of Korea in their most positive forms.

Curator Christiane Bauermeister
Consultant curator
Christiane Bauermeister
Project coordination
Dunja Gottweis

A catalogue will be published in conjunction with the exhibition.

Guided tours
Sat, Sun 4.00 p.m.
Continuous information service and short tours: Sat 2.00-4.00 p.m.

Special guided tours by advance booking: Gabriele Fabiankowitsch, phone (+43-1) 711 36-298, e-mail: [email protected]


One Response to “DPRK art on display in Vienna this summer”

  1. Werner says:

    In September this very interesting discussion should take place: