Richard Vine(Art in America Director) - Form Follows Logic - 2012 > CRITIQUES

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Richard Vine(Art in America Director) - Form Follows Logic - 2012

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작성자 ADMIN 작성일 21-03-16 13:49 조회 660hit 댓글 0comment

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                                                   Lim Dong-Lak : Form Follows Logic
                                                                                                 
 
    
  
 
   Lim Dong-Lak, 60, is a professor of art at Dong-A University in Busan, a member of the Maison des Artistes in France, and an advisor to major cultural organizations in his native Korea. These distinctions are not merely incidental and honorific; rather, they testify that his work, like his critical thinking, represents a widely admired effort to wed up-to-date formal concerns to traditional Korean aesthetics.
    Viewing Lim’s abstract sculptures, one is immediately struck by two things: the purity and precision of the highly inventive geometric forms, and the smoothness of the polished surfaces, be they metal or stone. Works like Point—Fly (1999), a circular plane of stainless steel twisted around its center into a Möbius-like shape, explore the perceptual and mathematical essence of form. Virtually Platonic in its stylization, the piece is nevertheless endowed with a torque, holding tension within even as its exterior, so flawlessly sleek, reflects the variety and change of the “real” world outside itself.
     What is required, this gleaming disk seems to ask, for us to apprehend any entity—which is to say, any set of stimuli—in our visual field as an object, distinct and entire? Certain ratios of volume to surface, and surface to edge, no doubt, but also something mysterious within ourselves that instinctively recognizes those relationships as coherent. Visual language, like verbal language, is both learned and innate: the forms, like the words in this sentence, would remain chaotic if they did not correspond to an order, a structure and logic of meaning, which is already inside us.
     Some viewers might take that outer-inner correspondence for proof of a higher rationality pervading and subtending the universe, even (to use a religious vocabulary) for a silent revelation of the nature God. Certainly there is in much of Lim’s recent work a kind of hyper-modern utopian impulse. Pieces such as Point—The Gate of Space (2000), looking like a deftly orchestrated cluster of three-dimensional graphs, draw visual comprehensibility out of extreme physical and intellectual complexity. Maximum import in minimal form: this is a prime aspect of ideal beauty, especially in Asia. Designing such works in the computer, Lim often conceives them at architectural scale—as though he wished to envelope his viewers in art, to let them dwell perennially within the beautiful.
     But, at the same time, Lim never seems to forget where we come from, organically, or to neglect the sheer quirkiness of our evolutionary process. Some of his earlier works are simply bends of rough, rusted steel and some—like Point—Sharp Pointed (1981) —juxtapose a highly poli-  shed element with raw stone: a strategy used, in figurative form, by Rodin (and before him by Michelangelo) to convey the emergence of soul and intellect from brute matter. Many subsequent works, like Point—Mass II (1996) with its leg-like forms truncated and slick, suggest an in-    creasing allegiance to Brancusi. Point—Human+Space (1998), a vertical piling up of such components in Endless Column fashion, has been read by several critics as a reference to ongoing fractal replication and growth.
    Artistic sophistication, this oeuvre suggests, entails the reconciliation of contraries. The same Lim who creates perfect, highly cogitated forms is not adverse to boyish humor. Consider the wry, determined sprig breaking out of an eggshell in Point—Growth (1999) or the stylized butt and scrotum presented in Point—Mass (1996). Rooted in earthiness yet dedicated to intellectual progress and spiritual elevation, the artist has described his working method as a “search for a middle course.”
     Many of Lim’s pieces, though large and weighty, are in a sense entirely mobile. They can be placed anywhere, mirroring their environment to some degree, but remaining self-contained, autonomous, resolved. (A condition, some commentators have said, that recalls Lim’s youth as the son of a military man who was frequently redeployed, plunging his family into a new situation each year.) Other works seek to become the environment, proposing order, harmony, and beauty as an infinitely sustainable state. In this, for all their futuristic appearance, they recall a very traditional Korean social ideal.
     But Lim never forgets the tensions subsumed in that outward orderliness. His early twisted-steel pieces were stung with cables, taut as bowstrings; his most recent “architectural” sculptures employ visual counterpoints and mutually offsetting volumes. Though still, all Lim’s works are still moving—like creatures glimpsed at rest.
     Thus Lim honors the core of his chosen art. For preceding all sculpture, no matter how abstract or geometric it may become, is the animis-  tic sensation that great masses of stone and metal have a living presence—a life suffused within—which the sculptor strives to preserve and enhance, to make manifest. Lim’s works fulfill this primitive mission—uniting the earth spirits with the human tribe—while conveying extraordi- nary spiritual refinement and high-tech finesse.

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