The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (commonly referred to as North Korea) is an area of Asia that is unfamiliar to many. Matjaž Tančič’s (b.1982, Slovenia) portraits are taken using a 3D stereoscopic technique, requiring each subject to stand motionless for minutes while multiple photographs capture the requisite perspectives. His landmark 3DPRK series offers a unique glimpse of the citizens of Pyongyang — North Korea’s capital — as well as workers, farmers, educators, athletes, and entertainers from across North Korea.
Admission to this exhibition is free and open to the public.
Tuesday – Friday, 11:00 am – 6:00 pm
Saturday– Sunday, 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Closed Mondays and major holidays
Photography of the exhibition without flash is permitted.
3DPRK Exhibition at Asia Society Captures a Different North Korea
Houston, Texas, August 31, 2016—Asia Society Texas Center is pleased to announce its upcoming exhibition, 3DPRK: North Korean Portraits by Matjaž Tančič, which presents a unique glimpse into a completely foreign environment for most Houstonians. The featured 3D photographs are the result of a 2014 project by Beijing-based Slovenian photographer Matjaž Tančič (b. 1982) with support from Koryo Studio, which specializes in North Korean art. The exhibition will be on view in the Center’s Fayez Sarofim Grand Hall from September 3, 2016 to February 26, 2017, and will require visitors to wear 3D glasses to view the photographs.
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), commonly referred to as North Korea, is one of the most restrictive nations regarding foreign visitors and artists. All visitors must be invited, and all are required to travel with official guides. Foreign press and picture taking is controlled, and there is an inherent distrust of foreign photographers. Tančič and his small team spent 10 days traveling extensively throughout the country. He relates: “It was like time travel. When you land in North Korea, it’s like you just emerged from a time capsule. Everything is as it was in the 1950s or ’60s. The only reminder that you’re in the present are cell phones, and when you’re walking in your ‘60s-style hotel room, there’s a plasma TV on the wall.”
Tančič works in 3D, a technique that requires patience and understanding from the subject, standing motionless while multiple photographs are captured to cover the requisite perspectives. Persuading people not disposed to prolonging the photo-taking process in public spaces was no small task. Out of the frame of each picture was a supporting cast of producers, translators, and guides describing the technique, explaining the intent, collecting information, and working to ease tensions.
To the naked eye, the subjects and their background are slightly blurry and distorted. When viewed with 3D glasses, however, the photographs are sharp and the audience feels almost immersed in the scene. "Every time you hear about North Korea, it is propaganda or anti-propaganda, workers in the fields or military marches,” said Tančič in a 2014 interview with CNN. “I wanted to show the complete opposite. I wanted to shoot real people, individuals with a name, a face.”
“Matjaž’s photographs capture the essence of Asia Society’s mission by forging new understanding for our audience about North Korea and the individuals who live there. We are thrilled to bring his unique 3D stereoscopic photographs to Houston, and challenge our visitors to engage with different perspectives on North Korea,” says Bridget Bray, the organization’s Nancy C. Allen Curator and Director of Exhibitions.
This exhibition is organized by Asia Society Texas Center and made possible through major support from Chinhui Juhn and Eddie Allen, Nancy C. Allen, Leslie and Brad Bucher, Nancy and Robert J. Carney, and the City of Houston through Houston Arts Alliance. Generous funding also provided by The Anchorage Foundation of Texas, The Clayton Fund, and through contributions from the Friends of Exhibitions, a premier group of individuals and organizations committed to bringing exceptional visual art to Asia Society Texas Center.
Admission to 3DPRK at Asia Society Texas Center is free and open to the public. Asia Society, located at 1370 Southmore Blvd, Houston, Texas, is open Tuesday – Friday, 11 am – 6 pm, and Saturday – Sunday, 10 am – 6 pm.
About Matjaž Tančič
Matjaž Tančič (1982) is a Slovenian photographer who is based in Beijing, and is a graduate of the London College of Fashion. Tančič has had numerous solo exhibitions, and his commercial work has been featured in magazines such as Vogue, Marie Claire, L’Officiel, and Playboy.
Download the press release here.
Video: Three Dimensions Of North Korea. Houston Public Media. January 31, 2017.
'3DPRK' - Possibly the World's Most Difficult Photo Project. FStoppers. February 24, 2017.
Chronicle critics offer entertainment suggestions. Houston Chronicle. August 31, 2016.
Arts guide: Houston museums are full of surprises. Houston Chronicle. August 19, 2016.
Matjaž Tančič Official Site: http://www.matjaztancic.com/
Interview: Capturing North Korea's People in 3D. Asia Blog. February 23, 2016.
North Korea: Take a 3D tour of one of the world's most isolated countries. CNN. May 26, 2016.
‘The more you think you know, the less you do’ – North Korea in 3D. The Guardian. October 7, 2015.
Matjaž Tančič: North Korea In 3D. Digital PhotoPro. February 29, 2016.
Tours and Related Programs
Screen Asia: Under the Sun
Thursday, December 1, 2016, 7:00-9:30 pm
Planned propaganda is hijacked in Vitaly Mansky's portrait of North Korean life.
Artist Talk: Matjaž Tančič
Sunday, January 22, 2017, 2:00-3:30 pm
Slovenian contemporary artist Matjaž Tančič discusses his 3DPRK series and experiences in North Korea.
Escaping North Korea: A Defector’s Journey
Wednesday, April 5, 2017, 6:00-8:30 pm
Join defector Hyeonseo Lee and author Jieun Baek for a discussion about growing up in North Korea, the dangers of defecting, and the resolve to rebuild one's life.
School tours, facilitated by the education department staff and volunteers, provide educationally rich interactive opportunities for students to learn about Asian art, culture, and traditions. These free tours are open to all public, private, charter, alternative, and home schools. Visits take place on weekdays, Tuesday through Friday, for one to two hours.
All school tours and subsequent interactive projects are tethered to the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) and district curriculum standards. They may include:
- Docent-led tour of exhibitions in the Louisa Stude Sarofim Gallery
- "Introduction to Asia” PowerPoint Presentation highlighting essential information about Asian art, culture, geography, and politics
- Guided tour of the Texas Center and discussion of its unique architecture
- Interactive projects based on the current exhibition (see attachment below for current options)
Application and School Tour Project Options
At least two weeks’ notice is required for school tours and additional advance notice is required for groups larger than 25. Learn more about the school tour interactive project at the link below.
For more information, please contact [email protected]
Saturday, September 10, 2016, 3pm
Saturday, March 11, 2017, 3 pm
To schedule a group tour outside of these designated days, please fill out the form below or contact Sarah Collins, Education & Outreach Coordinator, at [email protected]
This exhibition is organized by Asia Society Texas Center and made possible through major support from Chinhui Juhn and Eddie Allen, Nancy C. Allen, Leslie and Brad Bucher, Nancy and Robert J. Carney, and the City of Houston through Houston Arts Alliance. Generous funding also provided by The Anchorage Foundation of Texas, The Clayton Fund, Ann Wales, and through contributions from the Friends of Exhibitions, a premier group of individuals and organizations committed to bringing exceptional visual art to Asia Society Texas Center.