Nov 2, 2011

TREND | Sculpture from Tires

Chakaia Booker, The Fatality of Hope, 2007, tire, wood, steel, 85 x 201 x 32 in.
With over 1 billion tires produced annually and the decomposition timeframe of over 100 years for rubber, it is assuring to see the appropriation of such a modern day object of the industrial age not end with the death of its intended use. Wether it be abstract, kitsch, futuristic, or otherworldy, the transformation of a tire into sculpture is astonishing.  What was once dead and sterile, is now transformed into fluid material receiving a new life and energy. 

Chakaia Booker is one such artist who finds such a promising destination for the world's throwaway tires through sculpture on modest and monumental scales. As the self-proclaimed Rubber Queen, Chakaia uses the patterns, colors, and width of the tires as her palette, similar to a painters palette. Chakaia constructs her sculptures by looping and layering selected sections of tires and rubber around wood and steel structural bases. Relating her sculptures to the African American survival of modern times, Chakaia creates a level of defiant beauty from the scraps of resilient black rubber. Slavery, factory labor, the working class, social issues, and even the qualities of rubber are other concerns addressed within Chakaia’s work.  The above image "The Fatality of Hope" reminds me of Jackson Pollock paintings, with its gestural energy and rhythm. 

Yong Ho Ji, Lion Woman, 2007, tire and synthetic resin, 12 x 50 x 75 cm.

Yong Ho Ji, Bull Man 4, 2010, tire, resin, and steel, 100 x 150 x 200 cm.

Yong Ho Ji is another artist who makes incredible sculptures out of thrown away tires and rubber. Focusing on the creation of living creatures and mutants, Yong Ho Ji attempts to bring about awareness concerning mankinds responsibility involving nature and its conservation. By using rubber, Yong Ho Ji is able to capture the pure expression of the animal or mutant he is creating. “Rubber is very flexible, like skin, like muscles,” he explains. The sizes of his creations range from a small dog to a life size shark and larger. All of Yong Ho Ji's sculptures are amazing; however I am drawn more to the mutant series that he has developed. Combining two mammals together, Yong Ho Ji has confronted the issue concerning genetic engineering. What exactly is possible? Could genetic engineering lead to something heinously threatening to the current life on Earth? Growing up on his family's farm, Yong Ho Ji's exposure to domesticated and wild animals surely influenced his desire to involve himself with art concerning mankind's responsibility to nature.

Wilm Delvoye, Untitled (Car Tyre), 2007, tire, 81.5 x 19cm.

Wim Delvoye chooses to work with the tire in its natural form by carving, burning, and chipping into it.  In the series titled "Pneu", intricate patterns are developed within the tires.  Floral and organic elements emerge from the tire forcing a living aspect into a seemingly left for dead object.  Maintaining their original shape, the tires seem to take on the appearance of a more solid and sturdier object.

Patrick Murray


Post a Comment