You wouldn’t think about chains as the next wave of art mediums, but Young-Deok Seo, an artist hailing from South Korea, inspired by the human body, has transformed one man’s trash into another man’s incredible bicycle chain sculptures. Young-Deok Seo’s figurative artwork has surpassed expectations for years now, his oversize creations taking our breath away.
You wouldn’t think that something so imprecise and seemingly random as a chain could provide any inspiration to someone so focused on detail, but Seo shows his expertise with the unexpected medium, creating works as delicate as they are utilitarian.
Bicycle chain sculpture to convey the human body
Seo’s bicycle chain sculptures create fragmentation and rejoice in imperfection. The metal chains, designed as they are as links, allow light to penetrate what would be solid metal in any other style of art. This unexpected lightness is what gives Seo’s work its unusual quality, bringing a sense of eternal imperfection. It is these decisions that are meant to be political; to bring attention to labor standards influenced by industrialization, that’s become such a large part of today’s world.
“We are interlocked and running like parts of a giant machine,”
“Just as components are, we hang in there the day after day. And we are not allowed to be a protagonist of even our own life. The chains in my work mean fetters. The fetters are all about our contemporaries’ complicated, forced relationships and cravings for materials.”
Seo himself seems to see the industrialization of the workforce as negative, a way to dishearten the masses. He created these pieces in an attempt to console the every man.