Vera & Donald Blinken Open Society Archives
Anyone who follows the news is familiar with North Korea the threat - the overmilitarized, unpredictable "rogue state" of Northeast Asia. This exhibition presents something far less known: North Korea the country, glimpsed from inside.
North Korea is, without a doubt, the most isolated country on earth. Out of view of the outside world, its 24 million people live under a regime that has become both more regimented and more pervasive than Stalin's.
The exhibition presents selected aspects of the North Korean system, such as the cult of personality surrounding the late leader Kim Il Sung; gargantuan monuments the regime has built to glorify itself; and the troubled state of the country's agriculture. Photos and newsreels recall Hungary's aid to North Korea - schooling war orphans and treating the wounded - during the Korean War.
The backbone of the exhibition consists of dozens of vivid photographs taken between 1988 and 1996, by Dr. Eckart Dege, professor of the Geographic Institute at the University of Kiel in Germany. These candid scenes, many showing ordinary North Koreans at work and at rest, have never before been shown to the public. The explanatory texts that accompany them connect the dots among the different themes.
Videos introduce the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, as well as a triumphalist military parade. Completing the presentation is a selection of propaganda posters, newspapers, and music.