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The Unique Silver World of 2mm Wires

Posted June. 28, 2005 06:03,   


Let’s say there is a person who’s always spinning wires day in and day out. Perhaps many would think “he’s lost his mind.” There is a young sculptor, however, who has refined this kind of labor into art.

Sculptor Park Seung-mo (36, pictured below) creates masterpieces out of repetitively winding metal wires. The “spun pieces” kneaded out of his unique imagination and persistent labor philosophically ask what the “essence of an object” is, along with providing aesthetic beauty.

Park “buries” various everyday objects meticulously with 2 to 8 millimeters aluminum wires, such as a life-size grand piano and contrabass, a 15-meter canoe, a statue of Venus, a rocking chair, plow, stove, a Buddhist statue, and a Buddhist bust.

The entombed objects of half of his works at the exhibit are beyond recognition. One must read the original name of the piece to find out.

The objects of the world (precisely speaking, the synthetic impression of the actual article) are reborn completely through the cold metal wrapping. To realize the line between “hiding” and “revealing” is the exquisiteness of Park Seung-mo’s works.

“It was fun to see the visitors curious about the objects that reveal their shapes but are hidden inside. It reminded me of today’s generation judging everything by its cover, and made me ask philosophical questions on the essence of an object, like what is the difference between seeing and not seeing?”

His decision to apply “spinning labor” to art was ascertained by his 6-year stay in India. He was working as an average chiseller after majoring in plastic arts and graduating from Busan Dong-a University, when he left for India abruptly after becoming unable to immerse himself in his work, due to questions on vocation and life.

Park drifted and introspected in India while meditating, and struggled with his ego and material greed. He became estranged from work and killed time daydreaming about priesthood. With his return flight a day ahead of him, he sat in a café and started to draw circles on a piece of paper by chance. In a single moment, he stared at the blackened paper and was inspired.

While thoughtlessly and recklessly doing repetitive exercise, Park realized that the ego he longed to shake off had been forgotten, and that priesthood and art did not have to be separated if he connected this process to his work. Like a true sculptor, he expanded the “linear” to facet and space. Through endless trial and error, he succeeded in coiling pliant aluminum wires over synthetic rubber casts.

In a workshop at Yeoju, Gyeonggi Province, Park repeats his spinning labor daily from 8:00 a.m. to nearly midnight. Slathering finger-length adhesive and bonding wires is snail-paced slow work. When asked, “Isn’t it hard,” he responded, “It’s good that I don’t have idle thoughts. That kind of selfless state is what I wanted.” Through his work, Park transformed into a meditative monk. His true and deliberate labor seemed almost sacred in today’s stampeding world. Park’s first individual exhibition will be held in Artside at Insa-dong, and runs until July 4. For more information, call 02-725-1020.

Mun-Myung Huh angelhuh@donga.com