From afar, Hong Seon Jang’s sculptural cityscapes look like models from a city planner’s office. But upon closer inspection, we can see that each rising building and skyscraper is capped with a letter of the alphabet! The mini metropolises are in fact meticulously arranged conglomerations of disused typesets.
Jang’s “Type City” is part of a solo show of the artist’s work at David B. Smith Gallery in Denver, Colorado. The letterpress and wood sculpture stretches just two feet by 11 inches, but rises to 14 inches. Despite the small volume, a massive amount of tiny disused metal pieces were used to build up the incredible relief.
“Type City” offers a birds-eye view of a city by the sea. Jang has used the letterpress pieces to create the city’s shoreline, complete with long docks that jut into the water. Grids of streets and low apartment buildings and business are made from small pieces, or longer ones places horizontally. Clusters of skyscrapers spring up in the “downtown” area near the water’s edge. The longer pieces stand up vertically, and the raised letters on their roofs give away their former use.
Type City’s incredible detail harkens the era of miniaturists, which coincidentally are related to the era when letterpresses were commonly used to print newspapers, books and other reading materials. Jang ironically uses the remnants from an obsolete vintage process to create the sprawling metropolis of modern times.