Rather than carve sculptures from one material, Young-Deok Seo assembles his art from numerous, even hundreds, of individual pieces. The Korean artist specializes in unique three-dimensional portraits made from bicycle chains. By interlocking metal links together, he creates mesmerizing sculptures with a fascinating, puzzle-like texture.
In addition to its versatile usage, Seo uses bicycle chains for symbolic reasons. Just like parts of a machine, these metal pieces represent our unbreakable ties to modern industrialization. All of these figures are fettered to their fate and unable to break free.
Amazingly, Seo is able to make his sculptures incredibly lifelike using the hard and seemingly difficult medium. By linking the pieces, he is able to render full-sized figures sitting on the floor or sometimes hugging their knees, as well as people standing up with arms crossed. Usually, the characters in his work do not have faces, but when he does give the sculptures features, they are always with their eyes closed, as though they are asleep or deep in thought. Or, perhaps, they are resigned, feeling trapped in their role as a “cog in the machine.”
For updates on upcoming exhibitions and sneak peaks into his process, you can follow Seo on Instagram.