Thursday Salute to Originals: Strong Steel Roots

A South Korean sculptor crafts human figures from metal branches and roots.

Sun-Hyuk Kim is deeply inspired by human connections with nature and is known for illustrating complex metaphors through sculpture. In the work displayed here, Kim merges human anatomy with intricate root systems to show the connection between what is human and what is “natural.”

Composed of steel and painted in neutral earth tones, the sculptures transform hard metal to appear organic and brittle.

The more literal illustrations form outstretched human limbs and bodies from the spindly steel branches. Others show strange, incomplete human forms in motions like reaching or embracing — a metaphor for human will.

In the context of the 2020 pandemic, Kim reflects on his work through a lens of human weakness, incompleteness, and delicacy.

“The human force encountered in this era, which has achieved many civilizations and cutting-edge science, reminds us of the collapse of the Tower of Babel, which was built to become like God,” said Kim to This is Colossal.

This Thursday, we’re saluting the symbolic sculptural work of Sun-Hyuk Kim. You can view more of Kim’s illustrations of human connection with the natural world on Instagram or his website.

Sources: Sun-Hyuk Kim, This is Colossal