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Gilbert Luigi - The sculptural space of LIM DONG LAK - 2004. 3.

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작성자 ADMIN 작성일 21-03-16 13:46 조회 635hit 댓글 0comment


The sculptural space of LIM DONG LAK
 The  penetration of western avant-garde trends into Korea, european especially , have been made difficult by the  historical circumstances of the country until the 1950’s.
 After this unfortunate period, numerous Korean artists have placed their practices in the spirit and in the shapes/forms of modernity of the XX th century. Sculpture has an important place in this creative impetus, supported by the assimilation of western models and references  or by Korean artists staying abroad,  in Europe or  in the United States.
 The professional development of the sculptor Moon Shin, born in 1923 at Masan, and whose work is internationally  recognized, is a good example of this situation.
 Lim Dong Lak, who belongs to the next generation, he was born in 1953, has acquired his skills as a sculptor and  has produced his work completely in Korea, nevertheless remaining open to other cultures.
 Since his debut as a sculptor, twenty years ago, at the age of 26, Lim Dong Lak has continuously shown  a great capacity of thematic renewing that he associates with a predilection for hard materials which can give  a beautiful polish  such as  stone, marble, bronze,  stainless steel.
 Whatever their shapes, dimensions, treatment of the surfaces  and colours, his sculptures show tremendous energy. In the same way, in his first works of 1981 , made in industrial stainless steel bars and cables, twisting and tensions of steel symbolise an unbearable violence and an unspeakable pain. Only screams may come out of his pseudo-instruments of music. (Point- Tension III ).       
 Simultaneously, Lim executes works in bronze shiny, sorts of triangular steles,  deeply cut on one side by three stigmas,  such as inexplicable wounds, showing  the inside flesh, which in this case is  represented by the bronze shiny, sparkling.
 But this part loses all cruelty connotations when LIM applies it to stone works: fine gashes lift up the “shin” of the stone, make it twitch, expressing a certain tension, but moderated by the elegance of the slits/cracks full of fineness.
 This approach reaches its peak with two series of works Point- Matter 81and espacially
Point- Mass (1983-1984)in which hardness, density and the weight of marble or bronze are transformed into  carnal  shapes, luscious and twitchy that invite you to stroke/caress it. In this way LIM DONG LAK’s work is in the same lineage of Bernini or Rodin.
 However, LIM’s formal language is mostly expressed in a volumetry based on basic geometry- square, rectangle, triangle, circle- but without any minimalist intentions, even though the shapes are executed with a perfect technique.          
 In addition his works strike by their spatial  characters which greatly determine the expressivity and the reception by the public of numerous monumental orders erected by the artist in public places. 
 Indeed, his works are made to offer to the public a privileged relationship with the environment , visual and physical, like in his works of  Point -Mountain, wind, sea (Pusan 1988) or Point – City of the Sun ( Pusan 1995). This last work, is especially open, made of three vertical   stainless steel polished pieces which reflect on their curved inner surfaces an infinity of images greatly deformed by the reality that surrounds them, like in a dream. And the spectator gets hooked without knowing it, in this poetic relationship with the work. In this way, the work  can assert itself well beyond its relatively modest/short scale (7m50 high) in comparison of high and massive buildings that surround it. As well as in the “Point-Protoplasm II (Seoul  2002), kind of modular column, made of  five elements,  that fascinate the senses in an ascension suggesting surreptitiously the infinite.
 It is understood that LIM DONG LAK is not a man of a single idea, like his compatriot KIM CHANG YEUL, painter of drops of water in strange and subtle compositions, for thirty years. LIM is a tireless explorer of new shapes that he makes through  original composed procedures. Then, each new theme found is applied into many variations,  ending up into a work itself. In this way/manner series or even cycles of work are being build up, something that can be seen easily during the evolution of the artist’s career. 
 As a sculptor, LIM DONG LAK is a remarkable practitioner, whatever the technique he chooses to use. The pleasure to choose and work with his prefered materials can be easily felt. When it comes to formal inventions and composition modes, to create out of his imagination and his spirit of system, in his way to proceed, he knew how to take advantage of computing  procedures , incredibly efficient in his field, that can replace at  certain stages of the project,   sketches drawn or in traditional volumes.
 After all, his works, before showing signs of accomplished modernity, aren’t they  microcosms  related to the principle of emptiness that contains the breathes and allows the strengths of yin and yang to work, which the age-old tradition of those parts of Asia teaches us ?

Gilbert Luigi

Paris. March 200


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