Antonio La Grotta

Trade edition / 35,00 euro (Vat included)

Kim is a surreal musical comedy in 5 acts  - every act begins with a song. The book describes the most secret state of the world through the use of the stamps and the postcards. I interweave a selection of unbelievable newspaper articles published on the web with stamps and postcards  collected from 2018-19. The relationship that I have been constructed between images and texts contributes to create and to strengthen that aura of mystery and incredible that surrounds the country. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has used postage stamps as billboards to trumpet its socialist ideals, governmental successes, heroes, political leaders, future plans and, most especially, its victimization by outside forces. The DPRK’s government understands the power of its stamp program to sway the opinions of its own people and those of the outside world. By reviewing DPRK stamps via topic we gain a better view of the inner workings of DPRK propaganda as both an internal and external tool. Important political topics covered in the stamps include the military, devoted peasants, the unification of the peninsula and of course the cult of personality of the Kim dynasty.  “The stamp is today the most concise and concentrated figurative means of propaganda, almost a mural poster reduced to the minimum terms, from which the social and political substrate is revealed with extreme clarity and significance”. ( Zeri F. I francobolli italiani: grafica e ideologia dalle origini al 1948. In: Storia dell'arte italiana, Parte III, vol. 2, Tomo I, Einaudi ed., Torino, 1980)


The rise and fall of the dynasty

Pre order. It will be published in march

© all rights reserved | 2020 | Antonio La Grotta


The rise and fall of the dynasty

Edition of 250


88 Pages

Softcover with two flaps


Postcard + postage stamps


Ilaria Benini

excerpt from Daily Mail, Nikkei Asian Review,

The Guardian, ZABC News, Toronto Sun,The Onion, The Telegraph, Vanity Fair

excerpt from the book

North Korea lives governed by "divinity", between an isolated reality and an unknown dimension. The strength of the Kim dynasty, in addition to the army and the feared nuclear warheads, lies in making its people believe they possess supernatural powers that were given to them by superior forces to protect them from foreign enemies. Kim Il-sung, the founder of the Kim Dynasty, ideologist of the Juche (political system inspired by communism and patriotism), is the grandfather of the current dictator. He ruled from the country's establishment in 1948 until his death in 1994. Known as the Great Leader, he established a personality cult which dominates domestic politics in North Korea.  In 1998, Kim Il-sung was declared "eternal President of the Republic". During his rule, North Korea was molded into a totalitarian state . There are over 500 statues of Kim Il-sung in North Korea. Kim Il-sung's birthday, "Day of the Sun", is celebrated every year as a public holiday in North Korea. Kim Il-sung had received 230 foreign orders, medals and titles from 70 countries since the 1940s until, and after, his death. On his death in 1994, his eldest son Kim Jong-il succeeded him as supreme leader of North Korea. During his leadership of the country, Kim built on the mystique already surrounding his father and himself. Conflicting information circulated regarding his personal life, most of it unreliable and—perhaps deliberately—serving to add to the mystery.  

Kim strengthened the role of the military by his Songun ("military-first") policies, making the army the central organizer of civil society.  On 9 October 2006, North Korea's Korean Central News Agency announced that it had successfully conducted an underground nuclear test. In 2009, North Korea's constitution was amended to refer to him and his successors as the "supreme leader of the DPRK”. Kim was known as a skilled and manipulative diplomat but comically incompetent in matters of economic management. Kim Jong Un ascended to the throne in 2011. Kim rules a dictatorship where elections are not free and fair, government critics are persecuted, media is controlled by the regime, internet access is limited by the regime, and there is no freedom of religion. His regime operates an extensive network of prisons and labor camps; the regime convicts people for political crimes and uses collective punishment whereby members of a family get punished for the crimes of one person. Under Kim Jong-un's authority, North Korea continued its weapons-testing programs. Kim Jong-un is seen as having a more mediagenic style then his father, with the younger Kim having given a New Year's broadcast, taking in musical performances with his wife and being seen as more engaging with soldiers and workers.

Limited edition with print / ed. 10 / 120,00 euro. (Vat included)

Choose among 2 different prints, signed and numbered edition of 4 each or 2 North Korean postage stamp