Sculpture as Combination of Mechanism and Existential Ontology

Kim, Jung-Rak (Head Curator of the Kim Chong YuHg Sculpture Museum)

Toward the end of the )5th ceutury, Leonardo da Vinci draw a picture on his secret science note that integrates the concept of universe and human of those days. This small sketch named ' Vitruvian Man' displays two images of a naked man who sprawls if a circle and a square. It shows us the idealistic system of the world which he dreamed of. Namely, mechanism meaus the world rationalized in the mechanical order.

Although the scieutific technology has constantly developed and human iHtelligence has advanced, this world view in WesterH stiil functions as the ultimate principle. Developmental process of coHtemporary art also has expressed such ideal definition of the world of human being and priuciple characteristic. For example, geometrical mechanism in the Bauhaus or the Russian Constructivism was the very essential means to realize the new ideal world, and iu the latter half of the same century, even in the Minimalism and the Kinetic art, comprehension of the mechanism just implied the surrouudiHgs of human being and its order.

Mechanics working in the systematic movemeuts or temporal referents of several objects which the movements engage with appears as physical shapes. A clock Is an elaborate figure aHd image that iuterprets a physical movement of the other dimension named "time" as mechanism. Ahn Soo-JiH's (A Balauce Beam of Ineriia) is artistically adapted from such figuration. The construction in which horizontal and vertical angle is set right looks like a declaration of rationalism. On that, time moves constantly from side to side. This constaut movement will repeat on the geometrically pefect shape of the circular saw tooth. His (Vitruvian Man) materializes this constant repetition, that is, an ideal "automatism" . The automatism means autonomy of the super-capitalized industrial society and also means destiny of human beings who are alienated or subordinate to the soclety

His scuiptures are eiaborately designed , but they are machines that have Irrational purpose. They have mechanisms to some degree - it meaus that they have so-called "algorithms" mentioned frequently in these days - but they dou't have functionality for #acuity or public good. They became objects without purpose. Thu$, Ahn Soo-j~~n's sculptures are Hot machines but anti-machines, aHd by escaping from the teieology they receive new existence as art works. The machines themselves become the criticism of the machine civilization of today. They arouse our attention to the contemporary paradigms in which scientism is widespread since futurists who praised the usefulness of machiues. In his (Some anarchist's wing) , he set up the framework which fiaps its wings in a metal structure without a break. This ceaseless flappiHg wiii fever set free from the structure. Alberi Camus asserted that "Sisyphus" represeuts the most existential beiug who attempts the impossible endlessly and repeatediy As Camus'work did, Ahn Soo-41'n's structures represent iudividual human beings that live
stereotyped llves in the mechanized system or civilization. And by mechanism, they aiso figure the uitimate will which Is deslred by the moderner but will never be realized .

Ahu Soo-Jin's machines are heterogeneous combiuation of the mechanlsm and his own imagination, and that is the way to represent existential circumstances of the history, the soclety, and human being in his own eyes. At first it could be interpreted symbolically, but graduaily It has become understood narratively. In respect of this coHtradictory combination, he explaiued , "Its componeuts primarlly are limited to the machine, but the choice is connected with necessities of the inner life. 1 arrange, meet or part the sensorial organs of the biologicai human being and human sociological conditions, and it will express social security of the real life which causes monotonous repetitions that provoke us to a sense of futility and the will to be set free. The main purpose of my work is to emphasize violence and politics In our everyday life." Now he begins to be skeptical gazing at the past of the future. OH that accouut, the sentiments of his scuiptures are usually cynical and skeptical. in these scuiptures, however, there still remains compassion and love of humaHity. What proves him to be a warm hearted humanistic artlst is the fact that we can fiud the organic warmth in spite of coldness of the geometric structures.