A map; The world expressed as simple and clear

A map; The world expressed as simple and clear

Students receive a book called <Atlas> along with many other textbooks when they become 4th graders. This book is a reference book for students to learn about geography filled with maps painted by low chroma sky-blue and yellow-green. Map is a tool for people to navigate unfamiliar ways easier; however, we need to learn how to ‘read’ a map first. You would feel that a map is a complicated picture, filled with unknown codes if you are not aware of the many symbols on it. For example, a symbol “♨” indicates hot springs, like Yooseong or Dogo (place names in Korea famous for hot springs in the areas), and there are different ways to symbolize freeways and routes. You will finally be able to understand the world in a map after you learn how to read symbols, which include important destinations, such as hospitals, schools , community service centers, historical places, traffic routes, contour lines, and the points of the compass. Hence, a map is the world that expresses a real world as simple and clear so that everyone can understand.

A map: a picture that shows spatiality of the world and relations

There are thousands of complicated elements in the world; however, there are only few that can enjoy the glory of being on a map. A map contains components, such as historical places that represent the areas or traffic routes that are important to know. Through various cities, connections between cities and facility distribution of schools, theaters, and vacations spots, a map also allows us to be aware of the relations among important components that constitute the world.


Looks like a map, but different


Kwon Young Sung’s work looks like the map from a reference book <Atlas> because of the colors. For example, his works, <A complete map of Leaf Island> or <A complete map of Leaf City>, are painted with green and blue colors that have more white colors in them, like they are faded as in the reference book <Atlas> . The colors are not attractive as the green colors of early summer’s trees or the blue colors of shiny, glittering oceans. However, the biggest reason why Kwon’s paintings look like maps is that they show well-organized worlds, followed by orders and regulations as in real maps.



On <A complete map of Leaf City>, Kwon painted veins as freeways and expressed other parts of leaves as smaller administrative districts. On <A map of the surrounding areas of Mt. Pupil>, he painted gentle contour lines as a round shape of a pupil and a disconnected road as a bloodshot eye. They look like maps because Kwon painted relations between the whole and small elements of the whole after he observed the whole part of nature (leaves) and human body parts (pupils, palms). While a map of a leaf or a pupil is formed naturally, <A map of Pizza Islands>, <A map of Bathing beach city>, and <A map of Flyswatter Peninsula> remind us of maps with methodically planned cities. A grip of a flyswatter became a straight stretch of freeways toward the flyswatter peninsula. Adopting a map format, Kwon describes elements and features of the objects. Adopting symbols of a map, he clearly shows us freeways-routes and planned cities-villages. If you look closer, you will be able to find words like ‘Oh dear’, ‘I wish you were dead’, ‘annoying’, ‘You are so annoying’, or ‘I am so tired of you’. These words are from his experience of catching a fly with a flyswatter. On <A map of Pizza Islands>, a whole pizza and a piece of a pizza were described as islands, and the stretching cheeses are small islands. Kwon named cutting lines of a pizza as freeways, lines of hot sauce as routes, and the edge of a pizza as ‘Flour conservation zone’. He also named mixed areas of sauce and cheese as ‘Complex areas’, and he named small villages after toppings’ names, such as olives, corns, and peas.


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