Melbourne’s Anna Schwartz Gallery hosts Australian debut exhibition for North Korean artist Kim Guang Nan

From today the Anna Schwartz Gallery in Melbourne plays host to the first Australian exhibition of work by North Korean artist Kim Guang Nan. The exhibition titled The Future is Bright, curated by Doug Hall AM runs until the 21st May.

Kim Guang Nan was born in 1953, a few months after the armistice of the Korean War, and trained at the Pyongyang Central Art Academy. The Future is Bright sees him returning to the soviet-inspired propaganda comics of his childhood for inspiration.

For The Future is Bright, curator Doug Hall, worked with Nicholas Bonner to bring the project to reality. Bonner, based in Beijing has become somewhat of an expert on North Korea, running tours through the secretive nation, as well as being a collector of North Korean artwork.

Buried within the visual narrative of The Future is Bright is the reflection of a utopian vision of North Korea. Hall describes it, ‘as socialism shaped by the influence of Soviet idealism, where science, exploration and the vastness of its imaginative reach might become part of a proletarian dream’.

North Korean art is known for its heroic and home-grown interpretation of Socialist Realism – the peasant and industrial proletariat in action for the collective good. But for Hall what sets this exhibition apart “is that it is not the hackneyed Socialist Realism that most people might expect”.

The Future is Bright is exhibiting now at the Anna Schwartz Gallery, 185 Flinders Lane, Melbourne. Entry to the exhibition is free.


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Simon Clark

Books Editor. An admirer of songs and reader of books. Simon has a PhD in English and Comparative Literature. All errant apostrophes are his own.