Andreas Gursky's large-scale photograph instantly draws the viewer in. A flawlessly composed aesthetic reveals itself in brilliant colour.
The work is called Pyongyang Seven after the capital of North Korea. Every year, a mass political spectacle is held there in honour of the party leadership – a colourful spectacle at the May Day Stadium with rhythmic gymnastics and more than 100,000 participants. Andreas Gursky recorded the production with his camera.
Nevertheless, what we’re looking at here isn’t a documentary photograph. Gursky's art only emerges as he processes the image. Pyongyang, the work, is a virtuoso montage composed by the artist from a multitude of individual shots. Working on his computer, Gursky condenses spaces and multiplies the crowds until what started out as a major event is transformed into an abstract mass. Rows of seating in the stadium proliferate. Individuals remain visible in the detail, but that disappears and is incorporated into a structure. As a work, Pyongyang is a manipulation of a manipulation. The political spectacle enacted by a totalitarian state is reduced to absurdity. The result is a painterly composition of Gursky's new world.
Andreas Gursky was awarded the Kaiserring for his art in 2008. Now, 15 years later, and with the support of the Tessner Foundation, we have been able to exhibit one of the artist’s works in the Mönchehaus hall – which is almost 500 years old.
Foto 1: © Studio Andreas Gursky
Foto 2: © Martin Schenk, Goslar