Explosion and chaos – or Land of the Morning Calm? Design in South Korea oscillates between these extremes. With selected objects Die Neue Sammlung is presenting design, handicrafts and posters from South Korea for the first time, beginning with the 1980s. In South Korea design encompasses both craftwork and the design of industrial products, which enjoy great prestige in a country that has advanced from the poverty of the post-War era to become an industrialized nation.
The Korean approach to arts and crafts was initially characterized by the search for simple beauty in an everyday product. As such, the sublime simplicity of Korean porcelain objects is just as fascinating as the gently flowing forms of metal vessels. Delicate pieces of jewelry made of unusual materials and handcrafted to perfection lead the way into another dimension, hitherto unparalleled in terms of its innovativeness. Since the “Frankfurt Declaration” (1992) and its call for more “quality over quantity,” this caliber has also come to bear precisely in industrial production and has helped make South Korea a leading culture in Asia today. And that applies to cameras by Samsung and cell phones by LG just as much as to luminaires by Ramun and automobiles by Kia, with their famous “tiger nose.” Yet “Made in Korea” is nowhere to be read; Korean products are only recognizable at second glance – instead it is often brand names that stand for K-design.
K-Pop, K-style, K-film – the so-called Korean Wave has reached not only all of Asia, but also the West. Yet cultural trends go in both directions, and Korean graphic design is exposed not only to Pop art and comics, but also the Bauhaus and Swiss typography. Contemporary Korean posters show this influence particularly impressively and vividly. This is the first exhibition in Europe devoted specially to this area. Some 100 works from 25 graphic artists and studios from South Korea outline the heterogeneous trends in evidence, from experiments with Hangul typography and 3D rendering to an adoption of the style of the 1970s or 1980s … explosion?
The range of assignments encompasses cultural posters for art and design exhibitions, film festivals and performing arts as well as announcements of books, magazines and record markets and posters for music groups, clubs and fashion designers. Alongside in-house commissions for poster competitions we find works relating to humanitarian matters and political protest – e.g. by Na Kim (b. 1979), Bohuy Kim (b. 1985) and the studio Ordinary People – as well as environmental protection and initiatives against excessive urban development, for instance by the designers of Everyday Practice.
The exhibition presents typographical poetry by the great Hangul reformer Sang-Soo Ahn (b. 1952) and abstract and conceptual design approaches, for example by Chris Ro (b. 1976), Byung-rok Chae (b. 1981) and Dohyung Kim (b. 1974). Moreover, it features 2D/3D transformations (Hoon-dong Chung, b. 1970), type posters (Goo-ryong Kang, b. 1982), surreal fantasies (Byoung-il Sun, b. 1958) and the large, multi-award-winning screenprints by Kum-jun Park (b. 1963), showcasing their technical and creative refinement.

Exhibition participants:
Joo Hyun Ahn – Sang-Soo Ahn – Byung-rok Chae – Joonghyun Cho – Eun Mi Chun- Hoon-Dong Chung – DAEKI & JUN / Daeki Shim, Hyojun Shim – EVERYDAY PRACTICE / Jonghoo Kwon, Kyung-chul Kim, Eojin Kim – Frogdesign / Hartmut Esslinger – GOLDEN TREE / Namoo Kim, Hyojin An – Minjae Huh – Kap-Sun Hwang – JIN & PARK / Dallae Jin, Woohyuk Park – Jin Jung / therewhere – Junwon Jung – Goo-Ryong Kang – Kia / Peter Schreyer – Bohuy Kim – Dohyung Kim – Dong-Hyun Kim – KIMGARDEN / Yunho Lee, Kangin Kim – Na Kim – Sangwoo Kim – Dongchun Lee – Jaemin Lee – LG Corporate Design Center / Kang Heui-cha, Seung Chui Cho – Richard Meier – Alessandro Mendini – ORDINARY PEOPLE / Jin Kang, Jeong-min Seo, Se-yong Ahn, Jae-ha Lee, In-jee Jeong etc. – Kum-jun Park / 601Bisang – Shinwoo Park / paper press – F. A. Porsche Design – Chris Ro / ADearFriend – Dokho Shin – Samsung Electronics Corporate Design Center / Kwang-ha Choi, Sang-min Hyun, Hyoungshin Park, Sangmin Hyun – SULKI & MIN / Sulki Choi, Min Choi – Byoung-il Sun – WORKROOM / Kyeong-soo Lee, Yong-wan Jeon, Hyung-jin Kim, Seogwon Hwang – Mingoo Yoon – Sol Yoon – Myung-sang Yu

Korean Poster: Poster explanations/Guide (PDF)
Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich
March 4, 2017 – June 18, 2017 (extended until July 16, 2017)

Presentation view. Kum-Jun Park = 601Bisang. Four poster series “Digilog“, 2012. Photo: A. Laurenzo

Presentation view. Alessandro Mendini. Table lamp “Amuleto“, 2010. Manufacturer: Daeyoung One for Ramun. Photo: A. Laurenzo