In early 2014, Canadian artist Nathalie Daoust's New York agent contacted me about showing 'Korean Dreams' in New Zealand, and now we have the pleasure of presenting this important body of photographic artwork.
Nathalie Daoust took photos in North Korea, taking risks by working discreetly in places where it is not permitted to photograph. The resulting images are presented not as straight documentary photographs, but by using a technique of peeling the emulsion from the print backing and then making a contact print from it , then repeating this process. The effect is to create layers of texture to represent obscurity and misinformation, effectively the 'many hidden layers before being able to see the truth'. Daoust's photographs explore the idea of the fantasy world created by the North Korean regime, a world that is difficult to understand, or even to see, from an outsider's perspective.
"Korean Dreams is a complex series that probes the mysterious world of North Korea. Nathalie’s images reveal a country that seems to exist outside of time, as a carefully choreographed mirage. She 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. 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."
- From the Wikipedia article on Nathalie Daoust -
More info about Nathalie Daoust can be found on her website: daoustnathalie.com
'Exposing the real North Korea through secret photography' - AnOther magazine article
Article (in German) in Der Spiegel, June 12th 2016
Nathalie's full artist bio is shown below, as a document.
International exhibitions are few and far between at Photospace Gallery, for several reasons:
- There are many NZ-based artists wanting to show their work, and they take priority. (The gallery was established in 1998 mainly to show NZ photography, as there was no extant specialist gallery at the time.)
- There are higher freight costs, and insurance, importation and other handling issues with bringing in the artworks
- It is usually not possible for the artist to attend the opening
- Sadly, there is only limited interest in NZ in overseas artists who are not household names.
That is to say, Nathalie is currently in Berlin and won't be coming to New Zealand with her show, but I hope that you will come and see this work. And I hope the North Korean cyber-army doesn't hack and destroy my gallery website in reprisal for hosting this exhibition. I'll be really cross with them if they do.