Seong-Gu Lee

Korean sculptor Seong Gu Lee uses the human form as his sculptural subject, like so many artists before him, to depict the inner struggles faced by men and women throughout time. Reflecting on his work, the artist notes that "It is not that human beings themselves have changed but that the surrounding environment and cultural elements have significantly changed…whether ancient man or modern man, I don't think their basic desires or inner worlds are much different." Lee's vast series of metallic sculpture question life, existence, and the unattainable goal of the artist to obtain immortality.
Similar to the figurative sculptures by Matteo Pugliese, Lee's men and women emerge from walls, with parts of themselves missing. Aesthetically the two artists’ works differ, though they both have this underlying theme of incomplete humanity. In Lee's work, however, there's a strong sense that these fragmented and faceless men are fighting to stay alive, present and relevant. They are disintegrating right before our eyes, as though dipped into a pool of metaphoric acid, representing mortality and the ill fate of "existing" rather than truly "living."
Lee's sculptures contain layers upon layers of interpretation. Every element of his work has deep significance, right down to the metallic materials they are composed of. The artist explains his reason for working with particular elements, revealing a dark side to his work: "Metals have higher heat resistance than other materials when they are heated. However, once it begins to cool, it cools quite fast and becomes cold as if it had never been hot. I believe this isn't much different from the emotional cycles of human beings.”
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