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Amalia Ulman
via @amaliaulman

The Instagram artist taking on North Korea

Amalia Ulman went to the famously secretive Pyongyang for her latest art project – and this time it’s genuine

North Korea isn't exactly known for being a country of bold artistic expression. It's probably down to that whole “tyrannical regime” thing. In fact, nowadays, it's more about human rights violations and eerie silence – a mysterious land that probably won't ever make it onto your top ten list of prospective holiday spots.

Conceptual artist Amalia Ulman wasn't going to let that put her off though. In a feature published on The Guardian today, she revealed the details of her latest project – and somehow, it involved a trip to the country's famously secretive capital, Pyongyang. 

“I had found out about tourism in the DPRK by watching a documentary on Spanish TV,” she told The Guardian. “As soon as I knew that (going there) was a possibility, I couldn’t get it out of my mind. I planned the trip for half a year, and there was not one day when I wouldn’t look at Korean content or read books about life in Pyongyang.”

The Central Saint Martins' graduate put together photographs, sounds and videos of her trip for new project, “The Annals of Private History”, which is being shown at London's Arcadia Missa gallery this week.

“I’m interested in façades and propaganda, and Pyongyang is the best and most simplified example of that,” she added.“I just wanted to see it with my own eyes.”

Ulman, who famously duped the internet with her “Excellences and Perfections” project, initially had her Instagram followers skeptical over the authenticity of the trip – though it's now been officially confirmed. However, she's quick to point out the difference between her Instagram shots and the project itself. “Korea was in the back of my mind but definitely not the main focus,” she adds. “It definitely connects to the regime in the DPRK but also to any sort of propaganda machine, totalitarian regime or abusive relationship.”

You can see more of Amalia's Pyongnyang trip on her Instagram here, or you can catch “The Annals of Private History” at London's Frieze Live festival this week.