Abject Gallery in Newcastle is set to host an exhibition of hidden photography from inside the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea by Nathalie Daoust.
Photographer Nathalie Daoust’s newest project, ‘Korean Dreams’, is a complex series that probes the unsettling vacuity of North Korea. Piercing its veil with her lens, these images reveal a country that seems to exist outside of time, as a carefully choreographed mirage.
Daoust has spent much of her career exploring the chimeric world of fantasy: the hidden desires and urges that compel people to dream, to dress up, to move beyond the bounds of convention and to escape from reality. With ‘Korean Dreams’ she is exploring this escapist impulse not as an individual choice, but as a way of life forced upon an entire nation.
Daoust deliberately obscures her photographs during the development stage; as the layers of film are peeled off, the images are stifled until the facts become ‘lost’ in the process and a sense of detachment from reality is revealed. This darkroom method mimics the way information is transferred in North Korea – the photographs, as the North Korea people, are both manipulated until the underlying truth is all but a blur. The resultant pictures speak to North Korean society, of missing information and truth concealed.
“I’ve learnt that things are never as they seem and that I shouldn’t judge anyone until I’ve walked in their shoes, or at least taken the time to get to know them. When I first went to North Korea, I couldn’t understand why the whole country didn’t just rise up and fight for their rights to freedom after so many years of oppression and pain. After visiting, however, I now completely understand why they can’t,” Nathalie Daoust described.
The exhibition preview will take place on Friday 17th November between 6:00pm – 9:00pm.