South Korean artist and student Park Ki Pyung explores what it means to be human in his series of striking life-sized sculptures. Crafted from materials including cement, resin, and steel, the fractured figures are arranged in grand installations as well as intimate two-person groups. But large or small, each of Pyung’s sculpted people wrestle (sometimes literally) with concepts like conformity, identity, and self doubt.
Pyung’s portfolio is inspired by personal reflections that mark existential fret. It's the type of worry that makes someone ask themselves, “How is my past shaping my future?” or, “What kind of person am I becoming?” From these types of thoughts, the figures are seemingly ruptured from within. Now, only a shell of them remains. It symbolizes emptiness—prior events have emotionally hollowed them out.
Although some of the crumbled figures have facial features, many do not. “I use [the] shape of [the] human body with [an] excluded front face,” Pyung explained, “so that I can delete unique characteristics of each person.” At the same time, they engage in distressing physical interaction. “I [create] images of ancient battle scene[s] to show violence against self.” That feeling—that someone is being too hard on themselves—is relatable to many of us. Through these sculptures, Pyung offers a reminder; be kind to yourself and cut yourself some slack every once and awhile.