Life A User’s Manual: Catalogue

Kim Sungwon, ed., Life A User’s Manual, exhibition catalogue, Korea Craft and Design Foundation, 2012. Offset printing, paperback binding, page size 189 x 255 mm, 208 pp. Printed and bound by Top Process. Modeling by Kim Jung Yun. Photography by Nam Ki­yong.

Life A User’s Manual was an exhibition that explored new connections between life and design in Korea. For the graphic identity, a photo essay by the Italian designer Bruno Munari — “Seeking Comfort in an Uncomfortable Armchair” (1949) — was reenacted in a new context. In the original pictures, which show how designers’ intentions are unpredictably met in real life, the dressed-up, middle-aged, white male designer is trying to find a comfortable posture in a heavy armchair. For this reenactment, however, a young, female Korean designer wearing Uniqlo jeans and a t-shirt tried to strike the same poses on a light-weight Muji office chair. The pictures were taken in the empty venue before the show was installed.

For the catalogue, we extended the idea and applied it to the exhibited works, which were photographed while being variously used, misused, or abused.