Ji Yongho constructs his own sculpture world with contemporary material rather than traditional materials.

Ji Yongho deals with new material, ‘tire,’ reflecting a contemporary uniqueness as a sculpture artist. The waste tire has a rigid texture, so it is easy to handle the materials and transform them in the artist’s intended way.

The artist understands that waste tire is a time-reflected artifact for an industrialized society and the material feature itself appears as a suitable object. Ji Yongho focuses on the semantic properties of tires that contain strong vitality, such as tension, speed, and strength. He discovers the possibilities of constructing his own sculpture with this reusable material rather than traditional materials.

“I would like to go to the highest level achieved by the masters using tires as a material.
Also, I want to find my own material and expression method,
as well as the spirit (Zeitgeist) of the present era that did not exist at that time.”

Jaguar 3, 2008, Used tire, Steel, 290 x 81 x 122 cm

The work that Ji Yongho wants to talk about with the original material he discovered is the truth distorted by human selfishness or desire and the world’s appearance. It sheds light on the side-effects of scientific development and ambivalence of human beings and the real problems of our time. It shows how we are dominated by mutants such as lies, hatred, and wrong power.

In this context, the series ‘Mutant’ (2003~) that Ji Yongho has been progressing is the creation of living things. Also, those do not exist in reality by distorting, hybridizing, or crossover from living creatures. The artist has made the artwork with waste tires for over 10 years, and he starts the new series ‘New Mutant’. He mentions that the new series is a hybrid concept compared to the prior one, which has a limitation of materials and outskirt shifts.

Tiger Shark, 2020, Aluminum, 280 x 124 x 154cm

The new series is much more in-depth work in re-exploring the materials, colors, and textures. Ji Yongho says that sculpture contains all the essential elements of art. In this sense, Ji Yongho’s recent works have sincerity, exploring the essence of his art world.

‘Tire Mutant’ is created with worn-out rubber tires, cut and pasted on a prefabricated frame with iron or wood to finish the sculpture shape. After the process, they build up a casting model.

Jaguar series making process

The early work of this series uses only iron frame or casting modelling, but to express organic description, the artist finds out the solution from the conventional sculpture in the end. The tire texture, for skin expression, is also adopted by its form, part, muscles shape, feeling, and strength through its surface, elasticity, texture, width, and thickness.

Buffalo 1, 2010, Used Tire, Stainless Steel, 600 x 210 x 230 cm

He creates new mutated creatures, like animal figures, e.g. carnivores, herbivores, omnivores, and arthropods, depending on the corresponding intentions. In the series ‘Mutant’, the figures have a volumized sculpture by exaggerating each particle like jaguar legs.

For Buffalo 1, 2012, Used Tire, Stainless Steel, 620 x 230 x 190 cm

Afterward, Ji Yongho tries to combine heterogeneous species in the ‘Hybrid Animal’ series, illustrating mythical and existing animals. The combination of the creatures evolved into a ‘hybrid human,’ a mixture of animals and humans.

In the artist’s recent series, he deals with more diverse materials and concepts, such as mutants between gods, which seems like a masterpiece of Rodin or mutants between Marvel characters.

Ares Venom, 2022, Resin, Acrylic paint, 75 x 40 x 45 cm

In 2020, Ji Yongho started to pursue many organic works besides his materials, technology, and concept. The artist’s desire for a paradigm shift in the art world has been revealed before.

Ji Yongho said, “I’d like to sculpt a painting.” Likewise, he also announced the ‘Painting Series(Paint Sculpture)’, in which oil painting material was applied to the sculpture. The usage of oil painting and various colour paintings revoke his fluent art senses, influencing the artwork ‘New Mutant’.

Ram Body 1, 2020, Resin, Acrylic paint, 130 x 140 x 120 cm

The artist thought about the concepts of the ‘Mutant’ series, which he had been working on for nearly 20 years. Ji Yongho started ‘New Mutant’ to talk about his art in a conceptual way as contemporary art. The scope of references applied as the source is directly shown by using materials and forms, such as bronze, aluminum, and resin.

Ji Yongho has made various attempts to reflect and express a contemporary style originating from the sculpture. Finally, he enlarges his artistic identity by thinking fluidly about sculpting.

Installation view at Abu Dhabi F1 stadium

The favorable assessment of his recent works could also be seen in the art market. His entry works at his solo exhibition 《Mutant Color》(Soka Performing Art Center, Taipei, Taiwan) were sold out, an exhibition held in F1 Stadium (2013, Abu Dhabi, Arab Emirates) collected a large audience, and his recent performance at many other domestic and international art fair.

Also, Ji Yongho recently raised the question again, ‘what is sculpting?’ to revise his recent works. It is the right time for the artist to show his continuous artistic performance.

Ji Yongho

Artist Ji Yongho has held solo exhibitions, including at the UARTSPACE (2022), Gana Art Center in New York and Seoul (2009, 2020), the K Museum of Contemporary Art in Seoul (2017), and the Insa Art Center in Seoul (2007). He also participated in numerous group exhibitions at major art institutions such as the Chimei Museum, Taiwan (2016), the Victoria & Albert Museum, London (2011), the Saatchi Gallery, London (2010), and the Seoul Museum of Art (2009). His works are in the collections of various institutions, including the West Collection (Oaks, Pennsylvania), the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (Seoul), the Seoul Museum of Art (Seoul), and the Daejeon Museum of Art (Daejeon).

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