The interactive exhibit features characters from around the world


Typojanchi 2019, the world’s only typography biennial, will run until November 3 at Culture Station Seoul 284. [KCDF]

Typojanchi, the world’s only biennial on the art of character arrangement, returns to Seoul for its sixth edition this month.

But unlike previous editions, this year the focus isn’t just on letters.

“When people hear the term typography they might think of letters, but it’s really the technique of using letters rather than the letters themselves,” said Park Woo-hyuk, Co-Director of Typojanchi 2019, the sixth International Typography Biennial. . “This exhibition will combine images and symbols as well as letters in the behavior of typography. ”

This exhibition, titled “Typography and Objects”, is divided into six categories – kaleidoscopes, polyhedra, clocks, wedges, sundries and plants – which show how objects can be divided, sorted, combined and composed like letters in typography.

“When you look inside a kaleidoscope, it is made up of different colored shapes. Like the way the colored shapes combine to create different patterns within the kaleidoscope, in this section the words are formed as a mixture of different images, ”Park explained.

Noh Eun-you, the curator and contributing artist of the plants section, added that the work on plants shows how “letters become words, which become sentences, like the cycles of a plant.” Here, artists not only experimented with changing the length of sentences, but also manipulating characters, notably through “Variable Fonts”, a tool used by designers to adjust the weight and width of a font.


“A painting of the eyes” by Mat-kkal. [KIM EUN-JIN]

Clocks presents works by artists inspired by seeing the clock as a typographical analysis made up of different elements such as numbers, letters and graduations. In polyhedra, different objects, such as apples or chairs, take on the characteristics of letters and are adjusted in font or organized into alphabets. The sundries section features over a hundred lettered trinkets, from puns to illustrated floor mats. Corner works are displayed in the literal corners of the station along tiny hallways and feature innovative designs by rotating emerging artists.

Typojanchi, which means “type festival” in Korean, is a Korea-based event hosted by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and organized by the Korea Craft & Design Foundation (KCDF).

Despite its strong base in the country and its avowed goal of “telling the world about the excellent Hangul modeling and cultural value,” this edition makes notable efforts to highlight the alphabets of non-Korean communities as well.

“Type Forest”, a dark tunnel-like installation in the plants section, showcases the beauty of different characters from around the world. Here, names written in various alphabets, including Cyrillic, Japanese, and Arabic, harmonize with Korean verbs to form melancholy statements like “the wind blows gently.”

Some 39 artists and teams from abroad, including Australia, Finland and France, have contributed to “Type Forest” and other works.

As the event takes place in the expansive halls and halls of Culture Station Seoul 284, the former Seoul Station, the exhibition takes on an exhibition feel and allows visitors to invest a lot of time in viewing each work. .


“FaceReader” by Everyday Practice (top left); “Mascot” of Sangah Shin and Jaejin Ee (top right); BOWYER “Two Layers” autostereograms (above). [KCDF, KIM EUN-JIN]

Visitors can also manually search for works on or use a QR code displayed during the exhibition to find information about the work and the artist behind it, offered in English and Korean.

A plethora of interactive activities throughout the exhibit add to its fun.

“FaceReader,” located in the polyhedra section of the first floor, reads and analyzes the audience’s facial expressions and displays them as unique symbols on an LED-lit monitor.

Ayong Son’s “Neutral” gives visitors a chance to become the artists themselves. Dozens of pieces of paper litter the floor, with two illustrations – an apple and a pear, for example – on either side of the page, and it’s up to the audience to fill in whatever symbol or image they think will strike. the right balance between the two designs.

Visitors may, however, be a little frustrated with themselves in the sundries section, which features several autostereograms or optical illusions that hide a three-dimensional image behind a dizzying pattern of two-dimensional images that can only be seen with careful concentration. Described as a “typographic symbol set”, the artwork “Two Layers” is from the local graphic design studio BOWYER.

The organizers of this year’s Biennale are also using social media to the max to engage millennials, who make up a large portion of all visitors. Instagram users have the option to ask questions of participating artists directly on the exhibition’s official page, and on Hangul Day, which fell last Wednesday during opening week, visitors qualified to win products. fashionable if they uploaded photos celebrating the creation of the national language. .

These digital efforts seem to have already paid off – Typojanchi’s Instagram page has 10,900 followers, compared to 3,800 for the Gwangju Biennale, Korea’s major biennial art exhibition.

Choi Bong-hyun, President of KCDF, expressed his wish for the exhibition to appeal to visitors of all backgrounds and ages.

“The International Typography Biennale has already established itself as an exhibition that people in the fields of design and art see at least twice each, and we expect it to become a must-see for families,” couples and individuals. ”

BY KIM EUN-JIN [[email protected]]

The exhibition runs through November 3 at Culture Station Seoul 284, located next to Seoul Station in central Seoul. It opens every day from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Free entry.


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