Korean sculptor Yong Ho Ji has invented a new visual language based upon recycled tires. By gluing and screwing all types of tires onto resin-cast skeletons, Yong acheives an exquisite levels of anatomical detail. The artist uses the tough tires of tractors, mountain motorcycles and cars to create the large bodies of beasts, shredded motorcycle tires to elaborate the limbs of a lion, and turned out tires to represent fur. Yong explains, “Rubber is very flexible, like skin, like muscles.”
Yong’s most recent series involve building mutant animals. In “Mutant Mythos” art critic Trinie Dalton writes, “He (Yong) invents his own hybridized creatures in which genomes and DNA sequences are replaced by another altered natural substance: vulcanized rubber… Sinewy musculature, fleshy soft spots, and even the beasts’ facial expressions, ranging from innocent bewilderment to fierce predatorial gaze, are determined by his tire application, and vice versa. His chosen material, selected because of its links to industrialization and environmental degradation, is intricately linked to the lively character of his mutants; like skins, the tires breathe as if they’re organs. These tire-skins even exude a pungent smell that one could describe as the mutants’ “native scent.” … Beyond the tire strips wrapped around each mutant, like cloth bandages over a patient recovering from operation, the mutants’ obsidian eyes—large, opaque lucite marbles—glow with a melancholy realism that animates these still, sleeping giants.”
See more of Yong’s magnificent work on his website.