Iron and Earth Allow Sculptor To Express His Unique Vision

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Iron and Earth Allow Sculptor To Express His Unique Vision

For Lim Ok-sang, 50, the opening of his interactive sculpture exhibits "Age of Iron" and "Voice of Earth" is a chance to contrast and comment on the relationship between iron, a symbol of the failings of civilization, and soil, the source of nourishment and essence of life. The works will be on display at Insa Art Center, Gwanhun-dong, Seoul, through Jan. 3.

"Iron and soil, the two most representative materials in our lives, inform our beliefs, map out our history, and point to better alternatives," explains Mr. Lim.

In "Voice of Earth," on display at the exhibition hall on the second floor, a giant head 3.2 meters high and 5.5 meters long made of clay invites people inside.

"If Gaia - the life of the earth - has a living will just like we do, what would be its most likely method to contact humans ?" asks Mr. Lim. "That was my basic concept. Then I decided that the sculpture must be made of earth itself, a clay figure resembling a human face."

As one steps inside the giant hollow head, the sound of breathing can be heard. Images of water reflecting the color of the sky lights up the floor.

Referring to the work, the artist says, "The earth speaks through its breathing and is framed by the sky and water. It's a message meant to infuse a sense of awareness into those poisoned by greed.

"The earth emits radiation and breathes. It is in constant transition. I met with Hwang Hae-joo, a professor in the construction department at the Mokpo National University, who taught me the process for making a thick yellow soil made of clay, sand and lime. The combination helps preserve the soils characteristics and at the same time strengthens it. From now on I plan to produce various works with soil," said Mr. Lim, who always dreamed of molding an enormous clay sculpture.

The "Age of Iron" installation, located on the first basement level, houses a large nuclear warhead 9 meters in length and 2.4 meters in height. Horrific images of war are projected inside the warhead. The noise of firing machine guns and a dizzying display of lights accompany the images.

"By showing the darker side of iron, such as its metamorphosis into a deadly weapon, I wanted to help people reflect upon the problems of the present times," added Mr. Lim.

The artist will be present on location daily from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. to meet with viewers and answer their questions. For information call, 02-736-1020.

by Lee Jang-jik

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