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Archive for the ‘Exhibition’ Category

It was pretty much exactly five years ago when I booked a group tour to North Korea – a rather spontaneous decision after talking to a new colleague from Norway for a while, who had been to the DPRK several times. As a history buff from Germany living in Japan I guess I was destined to visit the country sooner or later… and I was so fascinated that I came back after just half a year. In spring of 2013 I spent 8 days, 7 nights in Pyongyang and the southern part of North Korea, in autumn an additional 8 days, 7 nights in the rarely visited northern part of North Korea along the Chinese and Russian borders.

*After each trip I posted a series of articles here on Abandoned Kansai* – and the resulting special is still quite popular, depending on how much attention North Korea gets in the news. Next week the 2018 Winter Olympics will begin in Pyeongchang, South Korea, and much to the surprise of the rest of the world North Korea will actually participate – which is kinda great news for *Abandoned Kansai*, *AIDA Gallery* and our long planned photo exhibition “North Korea – Surprising Insights”!

The exhibition features 48 photos taken between April 27th and October 21st 2013 – from Pyongyang’s skyscrapers to little huts in the countryside, from impressive monuments to unwanted glimpses, from high-ranking military personnel at the Korean Wall to unsupervised contact with regular people in a park.
We’ll have an opening party on Saturday (February 3rd) at AIDA Gallery in Osaka from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. – then the exhibition will be open to the public on February 4th, 10th, 11th, 17th, and 18th from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.; free of charge, of course… (Please *click here* for a link to GoogleMaps.) Please stop by for a look and a chat if you are in the area!

(*Like Abandoned Kansai on Facebook* if you don’t want to miss the latest articles and exclusive content – and subscribe to the *video channel on Youtube* to receive a message right after a new video is online…)

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When I picked up urban exploration as a hobby almost six years ago, I was just another couch potato. I wasn’t very adventurous (aside from hiking by myself or with friends every other weekend in the mountains of Kansai, but that’s not really risk-taking) and the last time I had a LSR in my hand had been as a child, about 20 or 25 years prior; long before digital. For some reason I bought a DSLR and started exploring, and since nobody wrote about urbex in Kansai I started this blog, for quite a while read only by a few people other than friends and family. And then the blog picked up momentum, comments were overwhelmingly positive – some liked the writing, the fact that I was actually writing about the places and my experiences there, but the majority seemed to like the photos, despite the fact that I don’t crop or do any kind of post-production. The world was drowning in tonemapped HDR urbex photos while I couldn’t care less, as always minding my own business. Six years and something like 50000 photos later I am still baffled by the overwhelmingly positive feedback, especially about my photos – which is almost surreal to me, since I never had any aspirations to be a (hobby) photographer, but they keep turning out well; good enough for readers to leave nice comments, good enough for commercial sites to pay a small licensing fee every once in a while… good enough for the mayor of my hometown to offer me free space to present a selection of photos to the general public. (In Japan you usually have to rent space at a gallery, average cost between 4000 and 20000 Yen per day, depending on the size and the location. Some bars give up wall space for free if you guarantee a certain amount of guests on opening night.)
“Verlassen und vergessen – Moderne Ruinen in Japan” (“Abandoned and Forgotten – Modern Ruins in Japan”) is my first solo exhibition – a selection of 27 photos; 25 of them already published on Abandoned Kansai, one on the *Facebook page of Abandoned Kansai* and one premiering at the exhibition. I was very tempted to show more new photos, but I wanted to avoid revealing too many locations yet to be published here, on the blog.
The exhibition takes place at the city hall in Bürstadt, Germany – Rathausstraße 2; that’s about 45 minutes south of Frankfurt. It’s accessible free of charge on Mondays / Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Friday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. till August 26th 2015. Please leave a comment in the guest book if you can make it! 🙂
As I assume most of you won’t be able to see the exhibition live, I compiled the photos (minus the temporarily exclusive one) in the gallery at the end of the article. They were taken at the following locations – heavy spoilers ahead from this point on, in case you want to see the exhibition yourself!
Abandoned Dynamite Mine
Bibai Bio Center
Big Mountain Pachinko
F# Elementary School
Gunkanjima
Hachijo Royal Hotel
Hachijo Spa Hotel
Igosu 108
Ikeshima
Katashima Training School
Landslide Mining Apartments
Landslide School
Matsuo Mine
Nara Dreamland
Nichitsu Mining Town
Okayama Hospital Haikyo
Osarizawa Mine
Red Bridge
Subterranean Shrine
Tenkaen
Wakayama Beach Hotel
Western Village
Since I am very much interested in your feedback, I am curious to find out what you think of the selection. Did your favorite photo make it or did I miss one that deserved to be exhibited? Should I have left one or more of them out? And what do you think of the compilation as a whole?

(*Like Abandoned Kansai on Facebook* if you don’t want to miss the latest articles and exclusive content – and subscribe to the *video channel on Youtube* to receive a message right after a new video is online…)

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