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. His solo exhibition 'Dystopia' took place at the INSA/Arko Art Centre in Seoul from 26 October 2011 until 31 October 2011 and showed his nude sculptures made meticulously in welded metal chain links piece by piece. Seo Young Deok presented a number of nude sculptures, some lying on the ground, some hung on the walls. He used welded metal chains in order to model them linking them piece-by-piece. At first glance, when someone takes a look at his work, one cannot help but notice that the artist draws strong references from the work of the renowned British sculptor Anthony Gormley. Gormley is known for using the human figure at the core of his work who on numerous occasions used his own figure to create metal casts making his body the artwork itself.
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.
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.
Discover Seo Young Deok's chain sculptures through the pictures that follow: