Poster for the exhibition Crow’s Eye View: The Korean Peninsula, Korean Pavilion, 14th International Architecture Exhibition—la Biennale di Venezia, 2014. Offset lithography, 594 x 840 mm. Printed by Top Process. Exhibition curated by Cho Minsuk, Pai Hyungmin, and Ahn Chang-mo.
Crow’s Eye View was an exhibition that explored the parallel histories of modern architecture in the Republic of Korea and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The title refers to a serial poem by the Korean architect-turned-poet Yi Sang, published in 1934. The graphic identity of the exhibition is based on poem no. 4, where the figures from 0 to 9 are systematically repeated and arranged along a diagonal axis to yield a quasi-symmetric, square composition.
The poem’s diagonal (rather than vertical or horizontal) axis and the images mirroring each other over the line bring to mind—or perhaps foresaw?—the Korean Peninsula’s situation after the war, where the two Koreas, one capitalist and the other socialist, have developed in parallel as well as in opposition, mirroring and responding to each other’s successes and failures. In the promotional materials for the exhibition, elements including the title and the Biennale logo appear twice, mirroring each other over a similar diagonal axis, and rendering the notion of proper orientation irrelevant.