New Exhibit at Korean Cultural Center Uses Typography to Examine Common Ground
The Korean Cultural Center in New York is hosting an exhibition on typography now through September 10. In collaboration with New York-based nonprofit Stigma and Cognition, Found in Translation is a celebration of International Literacy Day (recognized this year on Saturday, September 8) while also exploring how literacy and meaning changes in translation.
To examine various similarities and differences between Korean and Western cultures, the show looks at how language is used in both artistic and typographic endeavors. Show organizers paired nineteen Korean and nineteen Western artists to represent their take on a theme through typography, with the goal of highlighting common ground.
Each typographic artwork examines expressions regularly used in both cultures, highlighting that though the translation may not be literally identical, the meaning is generally the same. For example, Korean typeface studio Yang-Jang & Bazbon and New York-based calligrapher Margaret Fu were paired up to explore the phrase, "It takes two to tango." Yang-Jang & Bazbon's work shows a close-up of two men in black suits shaking hands against a red background, the whole creating a very Big Brother, almost menacing vibe. Written in slashing Korean characters, the expression back translates into English as "It takes two hands to make a clap," suggesting that cooperation helps get things done. Meanwhile, Fu's artwork also shows two hands, though intertwined in a dance-like embrace, with flowing, graceful script spelling out the phrase. The American's representation is a more literal take on the the expression.
Additionally, a pair of artists was commissioned to create works inspired by "the progress for peace and harmony on the Korean peninsula."
Found in Translation is at the Gallery Korea at the Korean Cultural Center New York (460 Park Ave at 57th St., NYC). The exhibition is on view through September 10.