Byoungil Sun, most well-known poster art creator from South Korea, talks about his new exhibition at Art Safari in Bucharest this fall
The most famous poster and design artist from South Korea, Byoungil Sun, who was invited to host a personal exhibition at the 10th edition of Art Safari, with the support of the Embassy of The Republic of Korea, spoke to Propagarta about the upcoming event opening on September 23rd, as well as about the main inspiration behind the body of works presented.
What would you like the visitors from Romania to understand about the role of design in arts, when visiting your personal exhibition?
Design is a work of creating new things inspired by the ideas from rational thinking. Therefore, it means something more than just showing visual sensations. Poster design, more than anything, can be described as a culmination of graphic design which connects the images with the viewers and enables interactions. I hope Hangul, a core of the exhibition, can broaden the channels of artistic communication with the Romanian visitors. Regarding the poster genre itself, I hope the visitors can take it to their heart as an active, creative activity filled with diverse expressions. While I was working on the exhibition, I kept pondering on the kind of images that can evoke a sense of familiarity, which could enable the Romanian visitors to easily interact with Hangul. I tried to present Hangul, the Korean writing system, reincarnated into forms and shapes with an infinite range of images, leaving an open door to individual interpretations, not to mention its scientific mechanism absorbed in the structure as a language. I think the role of my posters is to make the visitors feel for Hangul as ‘a visual language’ and not to think on it as ‘a literal language’.
What are the challenges that you’ve encountered while working on an exhibition in Romania, so far away from your home country?
The poster as a medium wears each different face when materialized in accordance with the types and sizes of printing materials, as well as the printing methods. Sometimes, the grandeur of the work is born out of the huge exhibition space. On some other times, it is born out of a frame that surrounds the posters. It was obviously a challenge for me to prepare an exhibition from a far away. I had to take into account logistics such as a delivery of artworks from the Republic of Korea to Romania and country-specific factors. In addition, considering the logistical limitations, I had to give up on some of the initial ideas that I had on the materials of the paper and the sizes of the frames. I was a little concerned that the impact of the artworks might be blurred by the unintended changes. Another challenge was that I couldn’t picture the exhibition space intuitively, knowing that it is very important to create artworks based on a complete understanding of the space. I had to carefully manage the methods of expression and the complexity that I took on for the artworks in order not to hinder the creative activities. Nevertheless, I did my very best, thinking that I would gratefully endure all the challenges facing at me to show my works to the Romanian visitors in the exhibition.
When did the idea of this exhibition come to you and for how long have you been preparing the show?
As an artist, various motives have come to my attention. Most of my poster art, however, has been inspired by the structure and shapes of ‘Hangul’. Incorporating ‘Hangul’ to posters comes naturally to me because I have been loving, studying, and practicing Hangul for a long time. In preparation of this exhibition, I have had time to look back on my previous works, which was such a pleasant and meaningful experience. It felt even more like it because I hadn’t done this in a while. This exhibition helped me delve into Hangul in an in-depth way as I got to work on new artworks, especially for this exhibition, for a year. I believe this exhibition surely will become an opportunity for the Romanian visitors, who encounter Hangul for the first time, to understand the beauty of Hangul and Korean culture from a new perspective.
How did you make the selection of the works that we will see at Art Safari? What did you think of when you chose them?
When I was working on the selection, my focus was to select the ones that represented the structural beauty of Hangul and the poster genre in the most candid and impactful way. In the beginning, I thought about the visitors envisioning the Korean culture and its symbols watching my posters, laying ground on the idea of a visualization of Hangul. In this manner, the poster design can expand the borders between the design itself and the interaction with it, and inspire young generations as well. It would be great if the viewers could relate to the exhibition and ignite the spark of imagination and creativity. The posters that I present in this exhibition are the letters, poems, and songs that I would like to send out to the visitors. It will be my great honor if this exhibition can work as a catalyst for the visitors to encourage themselves to want to know more about Hangul than ever before. I truly think that Hangul posters can bring the two cultures together at Art Safari.