More than two hundred works, screen-printed posters, books and magazines by approximately twenty artists reveal the dynamism, diversity and singularity of the young generation of Korean graphic designers.

Closely linked to the history of the country, Korean graphic design is relatively recent. Its emergence has been marked by key events such as the proclamation of independence in 1945 and the Seoul Olympics in 1988, both of which contributed to the emergence of the creative environment still evolving today. Although this art form had no real national tradition, it rapidly assimilated Korean cultural codes and specificities. Forging its own modern, free visual language, it reflects the quest for renewal now omnipresent in Korea.

This section begins with a space featuring the work of AHN Sang-soo, regarded as the father of Korean graphic design. A major influence on emerging artists, he was the first to make the Hangul alphabet his main subject. Inspired by the poetry of the Dada movement and the modernist poet YI Sang, AHN Sang-soo rejected the normative rules of typography, playing with geometry and the scale of letters and sometimes mixing linguistic codes. Through his work, the exhibition explores the passion of Korean graphic designers for typography and particularly for the Hangul alphabet, invented in the 15th century. Initially created as an alternative to Chinese, then the dominant language and reserved for the elite, it has become a primordial element of the Korean cultural identity. Often passed on by women when it was created, it is now the mother tongue. The public will also discover the work of PARK Kum-jun, founder of the 601 Bisang studio, showing the particular attention he pays to the book’s formal qualities and his use of traditional materials such as handmade hanji paper. PARK Kum-jun also played his part in the expansion of the literary scene, notably with the creation in 2001 of Paju Book City, which has more than fifty publishing houses, libraries and bookshops.

The young generation is also represented by the Practice studio, the Therewhere studio, and the graphic designers KIM Bo-huy, Chris Roe and PARK Yeoun-joo. Their work shows their profound attachment to tradition and the fundaments of Korean culture, but also their openness to the western influences. In recent years numerous new studios have been created by these emerging artists in search of independence and creative freedom. Enlarging their fields of activity, Korean graphic designers are asserting themselves as key actors in the art scene and playing a full part in its emergence. The exhibition ends with a spotlight on the work of KIM Do-hyung and KIM Na.

Les Arts Décoratifs, 107, rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris
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