About the project

"한때활자" 프로젝트에 대하여

나무 활자의 투박함과 손에 잡히는 느낌이 좋아 하나둘 모았다. 주로 1900년대 초반 미국과 유럽에서 만들어진 것들이다. 간혹 주조소 이름이 새겨진 것도 있지만 대부분 그 출처를 알 길이 없다. 글자 테두리에 먼지와 함께 딱딱하게 굳어버린 잉크 찌꺼기는 바쁘게 돌아가던 인쇄 현장을 떠올리게 했다. 그러다 비누를 만들게 되었고, 활자가 비누가 되어도 좋겠다는 생각을 했다. 글자의 섬세한 깎임새, 활자를 조각하던 사람의 손길을 그렇게라도 한번쯤 손에 쥐어보면 좋겠다고 생각했다.


비누는 사라지고 

글자의 기억도 사라진다.

거품과 함께.

Gutenberg Bubble by Kelly Moonkyung Choi, Gallery Factory, Seoul, March 2018

Metal type, which was still commonly used less than 100 years ago, has now become a useless object. Movable letters, which once caused the Gutenberg revolution, are long forgotten due to the introduction of the digital type era.

Kelly Moonkyung Choi, who majored in typography, lends new function to letterpress type that lost its original use. She copied every single block of type through casting by mixing plant oil, lye and various other ingredients to make soap liquid and pouring the mixture into silicon molds. Choi's “soap type” has different color, texture and fragrance in every piece. Accidental effects from the process of soapmaking are a consistent inspiration to her. Air bubbles that occur when stirring the soap liquid and shapes created when pouring the liquid into the mold, changes in the natural colorants during warming and drying that give new textures to the type, crisp grotesque letterforms turning into rounded shapes when using soap type in real life, all are among her inspirations. Choi came to appreciate the different irregular properties of plant and mineral, and influence of temperature and humidity, that cannot be sensed in a computer job. “Gutenberg Bubble”, the first exhibition at Gallery Factory this year, showcases the experiments and attitude of Kelly Moonkyung Choi in various ways. Aside from “Once Type”, the original soap type pieces of the artist, “Once Soap”, a series of printed pieces generated by Risograph, will be displayed in the exhibition. The printing process includes taking pictures of handmade soap type, transferring the images to the computer, and coloring them. In this process, natural ingredients such as gardenia seeds, indigo plants, or paprika used in making soap, are replaced by neon yellow, aqua blue, or sunflower Risograph inks, which gives a hint of the range of visual experiments that the artist has explored. In addition, a special set of soap type for the “gallery factory edition” will be made and dried at the site of the showroom during the exhibition.

About the artist



최문경은 1976년생으로 미국과 스위스에서 그래픽 디자인과 타이포그라피를 공부하고 서울과 로스앤젤레스에서 디자이너로 활동하였다. 2012년의 출산은 그녀의 일상을 완전히 바꾸어 놓았고 어느 순간 일과 육아 사이에서 자유 시간을 찾는 것이 유일한 관심사가 되어버렸다. 그러다 아이와 함께 하면서 자신도 재미있게 할 수 있는 작업을 깊게 고민하게 되었고 우연히 직접 손으로 만들 수 있는 비누를 접하게 되었다. 2015년 큐레이터로 참여한 ‘타이포잔치’의 <책벽돌> 프로젝트는 그녀에게 육체 노동이 더해진 디자인 결과물이 더 큰 만족감과 즐거움을 준다는 것을 깨닫게 해주었고 이는 활자 형태의 비누인 <한때활자>를 본격적으로 만드는 데에 큰 힘이 되었다. 현재 파주타이포그라피학교(PaTI)에서 타이포그라피를 가르치고 있으며 손으로 직접 무엇을 만드는 과정에서 얻어지는 시각적 이미지에 관심을 가지고 작업한다. 

Kelly Moonkyung Choi

Choi, born in 1976, studied graphic design and typography in the United States and Switzerland, and worked as a designer in Seoul and Los Angeles. Giving birth to a child in 2012 changed her daily life completely, and finding free time between work and childcare became her main concern. Pondering how to combine her work and play time with her child, she learned about handmade soap by chance. Participating in the “Typojanchi” biennale 2015 as the curator of the “Book Brick” project taught her that design work involving physical labor gives her more satisfaction and pleasure, which became the seed inspiration for making “Once Type”, i.e. type-shaped soap. She currently teaches typography at PaTI (Paju Typography Institute) and works as an artist with interest in discovering new visual imagery originating from the process of creating things by hand.

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