Heesun Seo

☀ Heesun Seo 서희선
Graphic designer from Seoul


MFA Yale University, Graphic Design
BFA Kookmin University, Visual Communication Design

Fulbright Scholarship Grantee

Works or interviews featured in…
2013 디자이너의 서체이야기, G:book
2012 자율과 유행2, Propaganda
2012 Graphic Magazine #22, Propaganda
2012 Everything Has Its Own List, Aland
2010 G:colon Magazine, G:colon
2010 Asian Graphics Now!, Taschen
2010 Diagraphics, Harper Collins
2010 Label & Packaging Design, Zeixs
2010 New Illustration with Type, Batsford
2009 1000 Ideas by 100 Graphic Designers, Maomao Publications
2009 Graphic Design 2, Zeixs
2009 Graphic Magazine #12, Propaganda
2008 Graphic Design Inspirations, Daab

Exhibitions/events
2014 CA Forum: 12 Memories, talk, Seoul, Korea
2014 Brno Biennial - International Exhibition, Brno, Czech Republic
2013 Spätkauf Kunst Aktion #4, Berlin, Germany
2012 The Poster Book Vol.1 at 1984, Seoul, Korea
2012 Yale GDMFA Graduation Show, New Haven, CT, USA
2011 Yale 1st year show, New Haven, CT, USA
2010 World Silent Day, Bangkok, Thailand
2010 International Design Festival
workshop on Korean typography, Buenos Aires, Argentina
2010 ArteBA'10 part of Munguau, Buenos Aires, Argentina
2009 [ Blank ] KMU VCD Graduation Show, Seoul, Korea
2009 dex 2nd play swap + ing, Seoul, Korea
2008 dex 1st Typography + α= Graphic Design, Seoul, Korea
2008 THE 1st Pattern & Typography, Seoul, Korea
2006 12th Exhibition of College of Design KMU, Seoul, Korea




Heesun Seo (°1987, Seoul, Korea) is an artist who mainly works with contemporary strategies. By examining the ambiguity and origination via retakes and variations, Seo presents everyday objects as well as references to texts, painting and architecture. Pompous writings and Utopian constructivist designs are juxtaposed with trivial objects. Categories are subtly reversed.

Seo creates situations in which everyday objects are altered or detached from their natural function. By applying specific combinations and certain manipulations, different functions and/or contexts are created. With the use of appropriated materials which are borrowed from a day-to-day context, she makes works that can be seen as self-portraits. Sometimes they appear idiosyncratic and quirky, at other times, they seem typical by-products of American superabundance and marketing.

Her practice provides a useful set of allegorical tools for manoeuvring with a pseudo-minimalist approach in the world of conceptual art: these meticulously planned works resound and resonate with images culled from the fantastical realm of imagination. By rejecting an objective truth and global cultural narratives, she seduces the viewer into a world of ongoing equilibrium and the interval that articulates the stream of daily events. Moments are depicted that only exist to punctuate the human drama in order to clarify our existence and to find poetic meaning in everyday life.

Her works are saturated with obviousness, mental inertia, clichés and bad jokes. They question the coerciveness that is derived from the more profound meaning and the superficial aesthetic appearance of an image. By emphasising aesthetics, she tries to increase the dynamic between audience and author by objectifying emotions and investigating the duality that develops through different interpretations.

Her works sometimes radiate a cold and latent violence. At times, disconcerting beauty emerges. The inherent visual seductiveness, along with the conciseness of the exhibitions, further complicates the reception of their manifold layers of meaning. By parodying mass media by exaggerating certain formal aspects inherent to our contemporary society, she creates work in which a fascination with the clarity of content and an uncompromising attitude towards conceptual and minimal art can be found. The work is aloof and systematic and a cool and neutral imagery is used.

Her works never shows the complete structure. This results in the fact that the artist can easily imagine an own interpretation without being hindered by the historical reality. With a subtle minimalistic approach, she creates with daily, recognizable elements, an unprecedented situation in which the viewer is confronted with the conditioning of his own perception and has to reconsider his biased position.

Her works directly respond to the surrounding environment and uses everyday experiences from the artist as a starting point. Often these are framed instances that would go unnoticed in their original context. With a conceptual approach, she tries to approach a wide scale of subjects in a multi-layered way, likes to involve the viewer in a way that is sometimes physical and believes in the idea of function following form in a work.

Her work urge us to renegotiate conceptual art as being part of a reactive or – at times – autistic medium, commenting on oppressing themes in our contemporary society. Heesun Seo currently lives and works in Berlin.

Artist biography written by 500letters




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