Art & Exhibition


WONDER: Wordless Picture Books by 7 artists from South Korea, an exhibition of Korean children’s literature brings together much-loved Korean picture books and artworks. Developed in a partnership with the Hyundai Museum of Kids’ Books & Art (MOKA), the exhibition features books, original illustrations, preliminary sketches, drawings, artists’ video and ephemera from 7 Korean artists; Nahye, Hyungshik Nam, Inkyung Noh, Barim, Gihun Lee, Sumi Lee and JiHyeon Lee.

We feel disconcerted when we open a book without words. And then we wonder, what does this book want to tell us? Instead of ‘reading words’ as we are accustomed to, we concentrate on paying attention to the pictures and ‘reading the story of pictures.’ Picture book artists create a story from pictures, which is complete when the people who read it add to the story with their imagination. The artists who create picture books without words meticulously consider and plan each picture’s colour, composition, page layout and pagination to build this visual literacy. They also use the synergy that often occurs with the juxtaposition of multiple images.

JiHyeon Lee and Barim hint at changes in space using black and white along with different colours, inviting us to feel the changes in the story with more details. Gihun Lee‘s delicate drawings with a thin brush draw us to take a closer look and dive in. Inkyung Noh‘s warm colours and Sumi Lee‘s coarse silkscreen textures emphasise the subject of their picture books. Hyungshik Nam and Nahye change the layout of their pages to a horizontal direction to indicate a change in the story. These seven Korean picture book artists are renowned in Korea and around the world for their diverse techniques, compositions and unique subjects. With their works, we are drawn into a variety of different stories. When you begin to read the stories of picture books without words, the question mark now hovering over your head will become an exclamation mark of amazement.

In coincide with the Brisbane Writers Festival 2023, Gihun Lee and JiHyeon Lee will be in Sydney and Brisbane to give a talk about their books and works.

WONDER will be an excellent chance to introduce incredible stories and characters to Australians aged 0 to 100 who have no prior knowledge of Korean children’s literature.

Exhibition information
9 May – 7 July
Korean Cultural Centre Australia Gallery
Mon-Fri, 10am-6pm
Free entry

This exhibition was developed in a partnership with Hyundai Museum of Kids’ Books and Art.

Presented by

Hyundai Museum of Kids’ Books and Art (MOKA) is the first book-themed children’s museum in South Korea. MOKA allows children to create their own stories and worlds by nurturing their imagination and artistic sensibility with books.