Forbidden Whispers. Laibach and North Korea
Nathalie Daoust, Martin von den Driesch, Daniel Miller, Jørund Føreland Pedersen, Matjaž Tančič, Jure Tepina, Jean Valnoir
Opening: 6 September 2018, at 8pm
6 September – 16 October 2018
In August 2015, the musical group Laibach traveled to North Korea to perform at two consecutive concerts in Pyongyang as a part of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Korean Peninsula. A Norwegian film director, activist, and artist Morten Traavik made a documentary film on the groups’ visit entitled Liberation Day, which premiered at the beginning of 2017. Both the tour and the filming process produced a large number of additional photographs, of both documentary and artistic nature, a selection of which will be curated and presented at the Photon Gallery, aimed at a European audience
This exhibition, however, goes far beyond the documentary footage from Laibach’s tour and the filming process, in presenting works that depict the everyday and the mundane of the North Korean people, the places they inhabit, and in containing otherwise rarely seen images. The country is not readably accessible and is particularly inhospitable for photographers, as strict permits are required for any such expedition in advance, with each shot then undergoing a thorough screening process. Albeit a tourist visiting the county on a tourist visa, all foreigners’ movements and actions are subjected to scrutiny. Laibach and their team gently pushed the strict limits of control and censorship in their typically provocative fashion through several imaginative solutions, producing a variety of original shots, which to this point have not yet been displayed.
An equal part of the exhibition is also dedicated to photographic work that was created in North Korea on other occasions under their strict regulation policies, hence the exhibition subtitle Laibach AND North Korea. The works by three artists, whose persistence and pragmatism in gaining the access to visit the country produced a plethora of photographs, are included. These are the Slovenian photographer Matjaž Tančič, the Canadian author Nathalie Daoust, and Martin von den Driesch from Germany. Their projects encompass an original artistic approach to the subject matter and some inventive technical solutions in their realization.