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Transcending Matter: Yoo Bong-Sang, Seo Young-Deok and Lee Gil-Rae

Exhibition details

Opening / Event Date:
22 March, 2018
6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Closing / End Date:
19 April, 2018
Event Category:

Opera Gallery, Hong Kong is pleased to present ‘Transcending Matter’, a group exhibition centered on the exploration of industrial mediums depicting natural objects. Featuring the works of three Korean artists, Yoo Bong-Sang (b. 1960), Seo Young-Deok (b. 1984) and Lee Gil-Rae (b. 1961), the exhibition will highlight the varying aesthetics relating to their use of material that arise within each artist’s practice, alongside the commonality in their thematic explorations.

The overall thematic thread throughout the exhibition lies in the contrasts in industrial material and natural subject matter. Including human figuration, landscapes and botanical representation, each of the artists within the exhibition explore the impact of industrialism upon society and the natural environment with differing tones. From the optimism within Lee Gil-Rae’s works showing the resilience of the natural environment to the depiction of the contortion of the human species by mechanisation, and the abstraction of the natural by Yoo Bong-Sang, the pieces within the show provide a variety of approaches to both industrial mediums and the impacts of the industrial society.

The young artist Seo Young-Deok’s preoccupation within his practice lies in the human body and the contamination humanity experiences through the materiality in our society. With large-scale and life-size human faces and figures created out of metal chains and welding, Young-Deok creates the modern man and woman in the metaphorical chains created for themselves. Chains themselves being a product of industrialism and mass production are in these instances linked with the human cells and the fabric of the human figure. In one sense, the figures thus become dehumanized, through enlargement and/or through the hollow space in their composition. However, in combination with this, the life-like detail of the forms and the violence of the welding enhance an emotional anguish in the works that expresses the alienated modern day human experience.

Concurrently, Yoo Bong-Sang’s works can be best described as sculptural-painting. Using a reel instead of an easel and nails instead of paint, Bong-Sang creates works that balance between the figurative and the abstract. Depicting landscapes and human figures that are both representational of their natural subject matter, whilst simultaneously collapsing into the abstract due to the physical properties and flat application of the medium.

Similarly, Lee Gil-Rae’s approach to his works creates a fusion between the natural and the industrial through a series of sculptural pieces depicting pine trees and botanical species. Through the use of the copper pipe to compose intricate representations of leaves, branches and trunks, the works emit a sense of the strength and vitality of natural organisms. As if creating life out of mechanical form, Gil-Rae’s works curve and contort into exquisite shapes creating a series of juxtapositions between determined natural growth and the cold solid properties of the copper material.



Founded by Gilles Dyan in 1994 and now internationally established with offices in Paris, London, Geneva, Monaco, New York, Miami, Aspen, Singapore, Hong Kong, Seoul, Beirut and Dubai, Opera Gallery is one of the leading dealers in modern and contemporary art with museums as well as private clients worldwide.


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