Jikji, The Golden Seed Exhibition. Cheongju, South Korea, Sep. 1-8

Sang Un Jeon - Virtual City
Sang Un Jeon – Virtual City

An immersive exhibition of architecture, art, design, fashion, media and VR
Cheongju Art Centre, Jikji Cultural Zone, Cheongju, South Korea
1 – 8 September 2016

JIKJI, THE GOLDEN SEED is an exhibition celebrating the world’s first book printed with metal moveable type – or Jikji – and the impact that the printed word has had on the world ever since. It was created in the Korean city of Cheongju in 1377, 78 years before Gutenberg’s famous bible was printed in Germany.

With exhibits ranging from 600-year old cultural artefacts to a 360 degree virtual reality film, a controversial “portrait” created on glass from human cells and a ceramic work comprised of thousands of pieces of the word “Seed” written in the Hangul (Korean) alphabet, Jikji is interpreted not just as a type, but as innovation, and the show demonstrates how important such technological shifts are to human development.

Curator Stephanie Seungmin Kim has brought together 35 contemporary artists, architects and designers from Canada, China, Germany, Japan, Israel, Italy, Korea, South Africa, Turkey, the UK and the USA, with some producing new work for the exhibition, all involved in engaging critically with the idea of invention. The historic cultural works come from the Gutenberg Museum in Mainz and the Old Printing Museum in Cheongju.

“Moveable metal type printing allowed knowledge to be shared by the many,” explains Stephanie Seungmin Kim. “In the West it played a crucial role in the Renaissance and the Enlightenment and has allowed the dissemination of scientific knowledge. The “Golden Seed” of the exhibition title refers to the potential for knowledge to spread, it is the seed from which the modern world grows.”

The exhibition advisor Mike Stubbs, Director of FACT, Foundation for Art and Creative Technology, Liverpool said “As new technologies are both informed by and inform the development of human communication and language, is it any surprise that language has transmuted into the digital and biological? The transmission of share thinking is exponentially growing and need significant speed, storage and transcoding.”

The exhibition has been designed by Ab Rogers, whose studio is based in London, but who has previously worked in Song do and Seoul. “This is a celebration of craft and innovation,” says Ab Rogers. “We have tried to create a visual language to unite a collection of extraordinary artworks and objects which inhabit a shared landscape between technology, design and art and create one coherent and immersive experience while privileging the individual sensation of each exhibit.” To this end, Ab Rogers Design has introduced a flowing sea of the colour red which wraps around each object as it leads the visitor through the show, which is divided into eight “episodes”.

A pavilion by the Israeli designer Ron Arad, which forms the first episode of the exhibition, will also be unveiled. “The bound book has become so ingrained in our lives,” says Arad, “so I have chosen to celebrate it by creating a pavilion that’s like a book that’s been opened and is being pushed down onto a flat surface. The thickness increases where the pages fan out, and the metal binding of the structure is derived from a traditional spine.”

The Jikji Pavilion by Ron Arad
The Jikji Pavilion by Ron Arad


Sangsoo Ahn, Ron Arad, Bien-U Bae, Jeremy Bailey, Dario Bartolini,Jeong Hwa Choi, Gina Czarnecki, Phil Dobson,  Jürgen Dünhofen, Minjeong Guem, Kyungtack Hong, Sangun Jeon, Mimi Joung, Hanuk Jung, William Kentridge, Sangjin Kim, Suhee Kim, Shona Kitchen, Ryoichi Kurokawa, Jian Kwon, Hyeyeong Ku with Life Formula, Kwangho Lee, Leenam Lee, Seung Ae Lee, Inho Lim, Marshmallow Laser Feast, Moonassi, OAA (Office Abstract Architecture), Notion Architecture, Semiconductor, Youngil Shin, Brigitte Stepputtis, Hyukyong Um, Miao Xiaochun, Burcu Yagcıoğlu

THE GOLDEN SEED is hosted by Cheongju City, and organised by Jikji Korea Organising Committee

Advisor Professor Mike Stubbs, FACT Liverpool