Korea Power Design and Identity

27 April - 25 August 2013

As a mass producer of consumer goods, South Korea is today one of the leading industrial nations.

Korea Power was the first extensive exhibition in Germany to focus on contemporary Korean product and graphic design. The show aimed to shed light on the “Korean identity” that has developed hand in hand with the emergence of a modern nation after the collapse of the Joseon dynasty, Japanese occupation and the Korean War. To this end, we showed works by the legendary Korean advertising photographer Kim Han-Yong dating from the post-Korean-War reconstruction phase.

Shots of Seoul and Pyongyang by the German architectural photographer Dieter Leistner – striking portraits of the divided country – were also on view.

Where South Korea’s rise to the status of economic superpower within a very brief period virtually obliterated all traces of the traditional lifestyle, the cultural values of Old Korea are now once again entering the field of vision.

The new sensitivity of many Koreans for traditional beauty and the affirmation of a new, specifically Korean elegance were demonstrated by the “Culture Keepers”, who – in their practical designs for furniture and tableware – combined the requirements of present-day life with borrowings from Old Korean examples.

Prof. Dr. Klaus Klemp and Hehn-Chu Ahn

Supported by

Seoul National University, EhwaWomans University Seoul, Seoul Design Foundation, Seoul Design Center, Daelim Contemporary Art Museum Seoul, Modern Design Museum Seoul, Culture Keepers Foundation, Cheongju International Craft, Biennale, Korea Foundation.

The exhibition was made possible thanks to kind support from the Korea Foundation and the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea and is being sponsored by Asiana Airlines. Samsung Electronics provided the technical equipment for the show.