Artist Ji Yongho (b. 1978) is widely known for his Mutant series made of waste tires. The artist creates unique sculptural works by combining the images of two or more animals or images from human culture.
The Tire Mutant series was the artist’s first attempt to criticize human civilization by mutating various creatures using discarded tires. However, his interest gradually expanded to reflect a cross-section of modern society, which led to the Hybrid Mutant and Color Mutant series.
The unique artistic practice of Ji Yongho has attracted various companies and institutions, leading to many collaborations and commissions, such as the project with the game company Riot Games or the Hangang River Art Park project in Seoul. Ji most recently worked with Bentley and Golfzon ZOIMARU, and each artwork will be in the company’s collection, respectively.
Bentley, a British-based manufacturer of luxury cars, has commissioned Ji to create the artwork Winged Lion, which is part of the Tire Mutant series. The work was exhibited at the Bentley Experience Lounge last July in Jangan-dong, Seoul, and is currently in the company’s collection.
Ji created the artwork in the form of a male lion since the company’s image corresponds to the luxurious, wild beast. For instance, the heavy exhaust sound of Bentley’s cars reminds us of a lion’s roar, and the classical and luxurious company image can be linked to a lion’s abundant mane.
The two wings, which are also Bentley’s emblem, are attached to the lion sculpture to symbolize beauty, elegance, and agility. The winged lion icon, which also represents Saint Mark, the Evangelist and patron of Venice, is considered to symbolize power, sophistication, and bravery.
Ji rendered the outline of the artwork using 3D modeling techniques and printed it in resin using a 3D printer. He then attaches the waste tire pieces to the lion’s muscles, giving it a lively quality. The artwork’s tire pieces are used tires from Bentley’s vehicles.
Ji is also working on commission work for Golfzon ZOIMARU, a company that runs a golf theme park in Daejeon, Korea. The piece will be included in the Hybrid Mutant series.
Ji previously collaborated with Golfzon ZOIMARU in 2016, creating a piece from the Tire Mutants series that is now in the company’s collection. This collaboration with Golfzon ZOIMARU has led to the creation of another project this year.
Hercules will be a sculptural work combining the images of Hercules, the Greek divine hero, and the Hulk, one of the Marvel Comics superheroes. The club on the left shoulder of the statue and the skin of the Nemean lion in its right hand indicate that the front side of the figure is Hercules. Yet, unlike a typical statue of a Greek or Roman deity, the sculpture’s left leg and abdomen resemble the Marvel superhero Hulk.
The work gets more interesting when viewed from the reverse side. The Hulk, in his signature pose, is overlapped with the image of Hercules. He is posed as if jumping with his hind legs set all the way back, holding an enlarged golf ball as if he is about to strike it.
The 10-meter-tall work, including a 2.3-meter-tall pedestal, will be on view at the main entrance of the golf zone theme park this November. The bronze golf ball, measuring 3 meters in diameter and weighing 4.5 tons, will be used as a clock tower.
Artist Ji Yongho has held solo exhibitions, including at the Gana Art Center in New York and Seoul (2009, 2020), the K Museum of Contemporary Art in Seoul (2017), and the Insa Art Center in Seoul (2007). He also participated in numerous group exhibitions at major art institutions such as the Chimei Museum, Taiwan (2016), the Victoria & Albert Museum, London (2011), the Saatchi Gallery, London (2010), and the Seoul Museum of Art (2009). His works are in the collections of various institutions, including the West Collection (Oaks, Pennsylvania), the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (Seoul), the Seoul Museum of Art (Seoul), and the Daejeon Museum of Art (Daejeon).