Irish actor Liam Neeson speaks at a press conference for “Taken 2,” which will open in theaters nationwide on Sept. 27. / Yonhap
Yang Hong-sup, a sculptor for 38 years, is holding his first fine art solo exhibition, “Breaking the Mold” at KOSA Space in Gwanhun-dong, central Seoul.
The 54-year-old is presenting some 15 metallic sculptures, in a move toward fine art. Yang made the objects in geometric forms and cast them in molds of harder metals such as stainless and carbon steel. Then the objects were put into a furnace at over 1,700 degrees Celsius, resulting in random shapes created by happy accidents. The sculptures are not in a fixed form but a result of unexpected shapes coming out of the mold.
Such a process reflects Yang’s thoughts on art. “In a society, there are people with vested rights and their world. The artistic community is no exception. If you don’t have proper educational background, it is hard to hold an exhibition,” Yang said.
He began sculpting in 1974, when he graduated middle school. He is one of the best casters in Korea and has made a replica of a golden incense burner from the Baekje Kingdom (18 B.C.- 668 A.D.) in 1995. He also sculpted a statue of Gen. Walton H. Walker at the 8th Army headquarters in Yongsan Garrison and the bust of former U.S. Air Force pilot Cpt. James A. Van Fleet Jr. at the U.S. air base in Osan.
He operates a workshop called Art World while pursuing his desire to study plastic art further. He finally entered the College of Art and Design at Seoul National University of Science and Technology in 2008 and graduated last February.
He cast works by other sculptors while seeking his own art world. “Making my own sculptures are time-consuming and difficult but I found pure delight in pursuing my view through the art,” the sculptor said.
Though people might think him a technician, not an artist, Yang portrays his deep thoughts through his works and they show his effort to overcome his inferiority complex or trauma against the society where educational background is important.
Art critic and Hongik University professor Kim Yi-soon said Yang has a great knowledge of the materials he uses and applies their properties as a means of bestowing his works with significance.
“The extremely hard and heavy stainless and carbon steel signify the existing order, which cannot easily be broken; Yang’s works can therefore be seen as embodying a spirit of resistance to the strong, established framework maintained by those in positions of privilege and the fake outer shell of Korean society, which attaches so much importance to posturing and keeping up appearances,” Kim said in her review of the exhibition.
“Breaking the Mold” runs through today. Admission is free. For more information, call (02) 720-9101.