Dieter Leistner, a well known German photographer, was given special permission in 2006 to photograph the public spaces in the North Korean capital city Pyongyang. His pictures show wide roads with hardly any cars or people and bronze statues of Communist leaders in a city that hasn’t changed since the 1980s. To complete the project, Dieter travelled to Seoul in 2012, the capital of South Korea where he found a totally different world of grid-locked cars, statues of kings of old kingdoms, and bustling markets packed full of fish and colourful flowers.
A compelling insight into an often discussed but still relatively unknown part of the world, and a comparison that not only reveals the division between the North and South of Korea but also their underlying similarities. Interestingly, the project was put in motion because of Dieter’s personal connection with the Eastern and Western separation of Germany in the 20th century and project curator Klaus Klemp reflects on their comparability:
“Germany and North Korea are almost diametrical opposites. Whereas in Germany today, dissdents, clandestine oppositional forces, critical intellectuals, or just “the people” would stand at the ready if protest or revolt were needed, in North Korea it seems that nothing at all is happening."