Seo Young Deok’s Incredible Chain Sculptures
The human body and its formation lie at the core of the Korean artist Seo Young Deok’s work who is preoccupied with the stories told through the human figure.
What Seo Young Deok’s sculptures capture is the anxieties of the modern human and especially the anxieties of the younger generation. Through his work, he exposes today’s reality with all its problems and pitfalls. Thus, his body of work has a strong sociological meaning that reflects upon the fragmented world we live in. Some of his pieces lie on the ground and some of their parts are fragmented as if they have been broken. The artist, in that sense, tries to capture the struggle of his subjects. The body is the form of a temple where the artist draws spiritual inspiration. Therefore, by breaking it down into pieces and sewing it back in circumstances of stress, this clearly indicates his position on the man of today and his state of mind. That, in combination with the industrial materials (plain and bicycle chains) implies a statement in terms of this distress evident in the human forms as a comment on today’s industrial and the manufactured world.
The statues are made without faces, inviting the viewer to project his or her self onto the sculpture and personally consider the emotions and feelings conveyed. “I see the links of chains as the connections between information, which also resemble interchanges in brain circuits. In these countless connections, we are overwhelmed by the duty of making decisions,” says Seo. “We are in agony because we do not know where to go at the interchange, but we must take an anxious step towards the complex future. I believe my work is an expression of the restless life of people living in the times of high-technology civilization.”
One might also go as far as to say that the fact that he is using chain and therefore a form of linkage is an attempt to present the natural form as one with the manmade and the mechanized. In other words, technology and the industrial are life today.