Artist reworks Korean writing, playfully or rationally, into artTypography n fr Gk typos impression, cast + graphia -graphy: 1. Letterpress printing 2. the style, arrangement or appearance of typeset manner.
To many who read and write in the Roman alphabet, terms such as Times New Roman, Courier or Bodoni are familiar. But for Korean letters, such terms are deemed obscure. The Korean alphabet, hangul, has never been a muse for multiple print designs as has English text.
To show that art can also be created with hangul letters, the Gallery Factory is featuring works by Lee Yong-je, a typographer and head of the Hangul Design Institute. “Typography: Hangul_Book,” is Ms. Lee’s first private exhibition.
The items on display are booklets that contain various kinds of hangul text, displaying how letters can vary in appearance, and books showing the diverse means of combining Korean vowels and consonants to create a form of text art. Visitors can browse through six books on display.
One book alone contains 11,172 words or letters that can be formed with hangul. With the 28 vowels and consonants that were used in the Joseon Dynasty (1392 to 1910), all possible combinations of hangul are explored.
A quiz book poses questions on words that can be confusing, such as puns or words with double meanings. To tempt visitors to get involved, a guest book is laid on one corner for people to scribble down their names, messages, even pictures.
Plain hangul letters are reborn with unusual designs, giving new meaning to the substance of the script. Even minuscule changes in the letter design are shown having quite an impact on the overall reading of a text.
“The theme of my book is somewhat related to hangul,” Lee Yong-je says. “This is because I have a deep attachment to hangul, which is sometimes expressed playfully or rationally. ... I try to communicate what I feel and come in contact with through hangul and books.”
Gallery Factory is an alternative art space, which also sells crafts such as handmade frames, notebooks, jewelry and other accessories displayed at previous exhibits. It is located in Samcheong-dong, north Seoul. The Lee exhibit runs until July 27. For more information and directions call (02) 733-4883 or visit www.factory483. org.
by Choi Jie-ho