North Korea 2014

PhotographerWang Guofeng
PrizeHonorable Mention
CompanyWang Guofeng Studio
City/CountryBeijing, China
Photo Date2014
Technical InfoC print
Entry Description

Students inside North Korea

About Photographer

Mr. Wang Guofeng, born 1967 in Liaoning province, northeast of China, is an independent artist known for large-format, sharp and rich in detail color photographs distinctive for their critical look at the effect of socialism and its ideology on the lives of individuals in the socialist or former socialist countries. He started his art career as a painter in 1990s, after studying Chinese painting at Inner Mongolia Normal University and Central Academy of Fine Arts. He started employing photography as a primary medium to visualize the art perception and sociality since 2002 and developed his method of conceptual serial photography. His earlier photography, in the form of huge panoramic color photographs, captures the 20th century mainstream splendid, huge and emblematical political buildings in China, Former Soviet Union region and North Korea, or the socialist or former socialist countries. These buildings represent the political system of the state and the collective unconsciousness under the highly centralized power, while individuals were tiny or subsumed by the grand architecture. In 2011, Mr. Wang Guofeng initiated his North Korea project and visited the country for four times ever since. In his large-scale high definition color photographs, Mr. Wang Guofeng captures the panorama of the society with rich information in detail. His lens covers the grand political buildings, the mass political gatherings, schools, factories, hospital, and families of different social status. Drawing influence of the scale and composition from his schooling of Chinese painting, Wang Guofeng found his contemporary way of photography. He perfectly processed these photographs in high definition pictures with all the symbolic codes and visual details in order to make the audience to read the implied spirit and sociality. He adopted high pixel digital camera to capture the objects and changed the points of sight until he finds a view locally, shot on the objects in a short and long distance with different focal lengths, encompassing both the center and the periphery. The huge dimension of the images and the later-stage digital manipulation further enhance the visual shock. All of Wang Guofeng’s pictures create a sense of impersonality, detachment and dispassionate, which challenge and even overturn the stereotyped attitudes and concepts of the viewers. Mr. Wang Guofeng has exhibited widely since 1999, including "The 2nd Seoul International Media Art Biennale" at the Seoul Museum of Art (2002), "When Latitudes Becomes Forms: Art in a Global Age" at Walker Art Center, US (2002), "The 6th Shanghai Biennale" Shanghai Art Museum (2006), "2nd Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art" (2007) and “Aura & Post Aura” 1st Beijing Photo Biennial (2013). His solo exhibitions were held in Moscow (2007), South Korea (2010) and Hong Kong (2013).