DPRK: North Korea in Colour by Dave Kulesza – Opening November 28
Collingwood, VIC, Australia

Photography Dave Kulesza
Words James Lyall Smith
Pyongyang Metro #1

Opening of 28th of November, Photographer Dave Kulesza’s ‘DPRK: North Korea in Colour’ exhibition represents the culmination of a three-year fascination with the architecture contained behind the borders of one of the world’s most secretive nations.

The photographic series is an insight into North Korean design throughout the capital, Pyongyang, as explored through the brutalist architecture & interior design that defines the built environment of the city. “There seemed to be a strong North Korean style which was quite infectious to capture,” explains the man behind the lens, Dave Kulesza. “At times, it felt like I was walking through a moment before my time, a surreal time capsule which I would not otherwise be a part of.”

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Dave drew inspiration from celebrated film director Wes Anderson for the exhibition.
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Over the course of three days shooting in the capital Dave encountered numerous aspects of the much maligned city, seldom seen in mainstream media sources, that were at times hard to believe. “At times I experienced the surreal feeling of walking through a detailed film set that was perfectly constructed,” says Dave. “It was sometimes hard to believe that any of it existed.”

From the beginning Dave’s objective wasn’t to capture North Korean society from a human perspective, rather, he wanted to provide outsiders with a window into a world reminiscent of the colourful fantasy lands shown to us by the films of Wes Anderson. “The absence of human inhabitancy was deliberate in the images,” says Dave. “Colour was so strong indoors, but it was from the large propaganda murals that I sourced my inspiration for the external treatments and ultimately informed the eccentric direction of the series.”

Changgwang Diving Board

“At times, it felt like I was walking through a moment before my time, a surreal time capsule which I would not otherwise be a part of.”

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The Changgwang Health & Recreation Complex Diving Board provided Dave with the initial inspiration for the exhibition.

Running from the 28th of November until December 8th at 178 Johnson Street, Collingwood, Melbourne, Dave Kulesza’s ‘DPRK: North Korea in Colour’ is an opportunity to view a side of a country that many of us still know very little about. Through architecture and design Dave has been able to capture the surreal side of a country stuck in time. As Dave states, “North Korea is like nowhere else, it’s essentially impervious to the outside world and this is what makes it so unique.”

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The large propaganda murals on display throughout the capital informed the eccentric direction of the series.

DPRK: North Korea in Colour will be officially opened on Thursday the 28th of November at 6:00pm through an entertaining opening night event hosted by Dave himself, with attendees encouraged to interact with the series whilst exploring the Pyongyang’s colourful design and brutalist architecture.

“It was sometimes hard to believe that any of it existed.”

Dave has also created a companion book for the exhibition showcasing the entire collection and a rare behind the scenes glimpse of his journey from the Chinese border, into North Korea and time spent shooting in Pyongyang. Editioned and regular copies of the book will feature over 60 images across 100 pages and provide readers with further insight into a land shrouded in mystery.

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Media Kit 10
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Published 21 November, 2019
Photography  Dave Kulesza
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