Instead of carving statues from one material, Young-Deok Seo creates sculptures by fusing hundreds of tiny components together. The South Korean artist uses bicycle chains to construct his striking figurative artwork. Using this unorthodox material, he renders each subject head-to-toe in the metal links. Amazingly, this does not hinder Seo's ability to create lifelike figures, but rather enhances the shape of the bodies. The silvery material shimmers in the light, bringing to life the three-dimensionality of the forms and highlighting the realistic anatomy.
While the bicycle chains create a puzzle-like effect from afar, a closer look reveals the many individual parts that go into producing each figure. Seo sees his choice of material as symbolic of modern industrialization and our relationship to it. “The chains in my work mean [restraints],” he says. “The fetters are all about our contemporaries' complicated, forced relationships and cravings for materials.” In this way, the figures are completely bound, both literally and figuratively, by a type of chain that typically represents choice and freedom (of travel, of movement).
For updates on upcoming exhibitions and sneak-peaks into his process, you can follow Seo on Instagram.