Photos: Yong Ho Ji
Reincarnated into shoes, logs, mulch and laptop cases, recycled tires have been shaped into pretty much well everything, including the kitchen sink. All the better, since these non-biodegradable rubber donuts are piling up in landfills all the world over. But leave it to artists like Korean sculptor Yong Ho Ji to transform this versatile material into a series of jaw-dropping (and quite frankly, scary-looking) sculptures, which he dubs "Mutant Mythos".
Yong Ho Ji's life-like sculptures are sleekly muscled with hand-cut rubber strips, while steel, wood, soil and styrofoam are used for custom molds and structural support.
The artist states that
My concept is mutation -- mutants. The product is from nature, from the white sap of latex trees but here it's changed. The color is black. The look is scary. Rubber is very flexible, like skin, like muscles.
And mutated it is: the 32-year-old's striking sculptural repertoire includes menacing, onyx-eyed beasts like hyenas, rams and boars, taken straight from either a nightmare or sci-fi action flick.
Some, like this larger-than-life shark, measure more than 10 feet long.
Then, there's more fantastical representations like sphinxes, and hybridized creations of horse men and deer women.
Influenced by the likes of French sculptor Auguste Rodin and Darwin's theory of evolution, Yong Ho Ji infuses a powerful, primeval intelligence into materials that were once extracted from nature and transformed by consumerist processes. Yet, under the artist's hands they are morphed once again into something completely different, almost like a new mythology that intersects nature, modern industrialism and the shadows of human imagination. To see his complete set of recycled tire sculptures, check out his website.
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