Sculptor Yi Chul Hee is known for his incredible sculptures that activate public space. He uses tightly stacked metal pipes that are then cut at interesting angles to achieve sculptures of the human form, life-sized animals, and even abstract art. The nature of the material and method of stacking creates a mesmerizing play of light and shadow that often translates to the halftone style of drawing used in comic books.
Although passersby might quickly view the sculptures as a stack of incredibly cut pipe, Yi sees his work a little differently. “Pipe sculpting does not consist of sculpting the pipe but the cylindrical space in the pipe,” the artist explains. “This space takes on a new shape each time the surface or the cutting line of the pipe changes and the different shapes thus created give rise to the creation of unique works with a black hole pattern. They are called pieces of pipes but in reality they are pieces of space (the black hole) in the pipe. The charm of my work lies in these pieces seen in three dimensions which give an original and refined rhythm, variable according to the angle of view.”
This insight into Yi’s work may help one better appreciate the incredible detail made of a single material. It is interesting to think that the void is more important than the solids as he describes his process. As you scroll through the photos of each incredible structure, try to focus on the void, or black hole as he describes them, and the range of shadows you can find within.
To keep up to date on Yi's work, be sure to follow the sculptor on Instagram.