Sculptor jumps dimensions with metal, light and shadows
The Pyo Gallery in Jongno District, central Seoul, is presenting “Illusion of Sculpture: Passion,” a multi-dimensional shadow-art exhibition, through July 6.
In it, abstract sculptures by Eom Ikk-hoon made with metal straps are displayed. Using light, shadows of the sculptures are projected on the walls to achieve dynamic images of people dancing, skateboarding, painting and playing musical instruments.
“I used to make conventional sculptures until I noticed one day how the sculptures' shadows had soft silhouettes,” Eom told the Korea JoongAng Daily at the gallery on June 16.
“Then I thought, ‘What if I make an abstract sculpture but use light to turn it into representational art?'"
Since 2011, Eom has dedicated his career to “shadow sculptures” which transcend many boundaries: two-dimensional and three-dimensional, abstract and figurative, of coldness and warmth.
“Many artists strive to turn their 2D works into 3D, but I wanted to do the reverse,” said Eom. “I dare say my works are a coexistence of sculpture and painting. Each of my ‘shadow sculptures’ is a 3D abstract artwork on its own, but also turn into 2D representational art via shadow."
Eom added he was attracted to the strength that metal represents, but at the same time wanted to give the material a twist – literally. He elaborately twists strips of metal to give them a softer and more flexible feel, while checking the shape of the shadow they create, one step at a time.
“Metal has a cold feel to it and metal sculptures have stark lines," he said, "but they transform into warmer and softer silhouettes as their shadows are dimply lit on the wall.”
Eom thinks shadows are an effective medium to represent the concept of illusion, a theme on which he has long been fixated.
“Shadows are illusions; they don’t have actual substance. But time is also an illusion,” said Eom. “There is no real ‘present’; it's either the past we remember or the future we imagine. My works mostly depict childhood memories and dreams, which are also illusions in my book. So I think shadows convey that message well.”
Eom said he specifically selected cheerful themes for this exhibition under the theme of “passion,” with shadows that portray people enjoying themselves with music, dance and other hobbies.
“I wanted to convey a brighter message to lighten up the mood during this difficult pandemic,” Eom said.
“Although I chose happier images this time, I think shadow art can easily look grotesque depending on the lighting. In future exhibitions, I want to use shadows to represent darker, violent sides of society. But I hope we get over this pandemic first.”
BY HALEY YANG [email@example.com]