In Setting the Stage: North Korea
photographer Eddo Hartmann shows the North Korean regime’s ambitions to build the ultimate socialist city and to mould the people living in that city to their ideals. Hartmann is one of very few Western photographers who has been allowed almost full access to the country. This publication is the result of many years of research and four visits to Pyongyang.
After the total destruction of Pyongyang during the Korean War (1950-53), the government took its chance to rebuild the capital from scratch and to turn it into the perfect setting for their propaganda. Pyongyang was to become the city in which every North Korean could experience true modern socialism. The buildings were to be the utopian background against which the inhabitants could live their daily lives. Pyongyang was to immortalise the socialist revolution. Eddo Hartmann had the exceptional opportunity to photograph this architecture of artificiality. In a series of evocative images, he captures the forced and almost surreal character of North Korean ambition. In a very personal and original style, Hartmann focuses on the individual.