Wallpaper* has always been fascinated by that most secretive of countries, North Korea, even producing the first ever approved photo story on the capital Pyongyang in 1999. As the country slowly began to let down its guard and allow visitors in, photographer Andreas Gursky finally succeeded in gaining permission to document the spectacular annual Arirang Festival (or Mass Games) in the capital city in 2006, after three years of trying. Capturing 70,000 precisely choreographed performers in the vast May Day stadium was never going to be easy but Gursky charmed the artistic director of the festival and was given unprecedented access. The resulting photographs almost defy belief.
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