Wild Wednesday: incredible bike chain sculptures


February 16th 2017

You and I look at the same bike chain and see different things.

bike chain sculptures

One person might see a functional, mechanical device to move the rear wheel in the same direction as the pedals. Another might see an incredibly complex web of 104 moving parts that allow steel to repeatedly bend different directions in an ever-changing loop. And yet another person might simply see the oily part of the bike to avoid when wearing nice clothes.

Seo Young-Deok sees the human condition.

bike chain sculptures

South Korean artist Seo Young-Deok received his degree in environmental sculpture in 2010. He makes metal sculptures using only bike chains.

Just another brick in the wall!

For youth, one of the most persistent fears for youth has always losing sense of one’s self, becoming as Pink Floyd sang, “just another brick in the wall.” A meaningless cog in the big corporate machine. Another link in a chain.

bike chain sculptures

Young-Deok’s work compares the standardization of modern life to the monotonous repetitive movement of the chain in its original function.

Chains, struggles, and the anxieties of a younger generation.

In Young-Deok’s own words, “We are interlocked and running like parts of a giant machine. Just as components are, we hang in there day after day as a gray man living in the periphery. And we are not allowed to be a protagonist of even our own life.”

bike chain sculptures

Youth is a time when we’re still putting things together, and defining who we’ll be–teetering between looking up for inspiration and feeling the weight of new responsibilities…

“The chains in my work means fetters. The fetters are all about our contemporaries’ complicated, forced relationships and cravings for materials. I want to show, through my works, the portraits of our time where personal thoughts and lives are ignored.”

bike chain sculptures

And yet, somehow, in the end,  there’s the feeling of deep communication–the ripped-straight-from-the-heart discussions about issues that matter to us all–like hopes, dreams, fears, and quality of life.

Ultimately, these intimate communications get us to a better understanding of who each other are and want to be as human beings. And that’s an incredible opportunity for meaningful connections between people and across generations. Thanks, bike chains!

For more examples of Seo Young-Deok’s amazing work, visit his Facebook page or website.

Bob Forgrave's Signature

Bob Forgrave is president of Flatbike, an
ecommerce company offering full-size folding bikes
and kits to make any bike take up half the space.




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