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Urban Renewal: Seo Young-Deok, Olivier Dassault, Nick Gentry, Yves Krief exhibit at Opera Gallery
Self Portrait I, 2011 by Seo Young-Deok, Iron chain and urethane paint, 92 x 92 x 86 cm.

HONG KONG.- This spring, Opera Gallery presents Urban Renewal, a social commentary on the evolution of urban culture. Inspired by global initiatives to ‘Recycle, Renew, and Reinvest’ in the city, the contemporary group exhibition showcases four international new media artists: Seo Young-Deok, Nick Gentry, Yves Krief and Olivier Dassault. The presented mixed media works integrate technology in art as well as cleverly re-use discarded objects such as industrial chains and floppy disks, all breathing ‘life’ again into the original foundations of urban progress.

The young South Korean artist Seo Young-Deok has captivated international audiences for producing life-size, hyper-realistic sculptures of human figures made only with welded chains taken from bicycles and industrial machinery. Inspired by the urban lifestyle he experienced as an adult – contrasting drastically with his rural upbringing – Seo explores the relationship between humans and their environment through the creative repurposing of iron chains – a material which has played a critical role in the development of the modern world. Seo Young-Deok was born in 1984, South Korea, graduating from the environmental sculpture department of the University of Seoul in 2008. He lives and works in South Korea.

British artist Nick Gentry re-uses obsolete media such as floppy disks and film negatives to canvas iconic mixed media portraits of the ‘Urbanite’. The result is an archaeological display of digital history, memorializing the brief yet crucial roles they played in modern technology. Gentry’s works tell the personal stories of people and their dependency on computerised storage to hold every detail of their life - from personal information to intimate photos. As technology continues to advance, Gentry traces the effects of these changes as well as he reflects on its future. Nick Gentry was born in London, UK, in 1980 and graduated from Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design in the UK. He currently lives and works in London.

Born in 1959 in France, French artist Yves Krief creates vivid photomontages of fantastical urban landscapes. Using real photographs of global metropolises, Krief hybridises these cityscapes to paint an ominous future following the effects of globalism. In his featured series “One Hundred Titles”, each piece tells a different story about the changing cultures of the city, open to interpretations with a myriad of details. Yves Krief first made a name for himself at the Salon des Indépendants and has received critical acclaim from international exhibitions and art fairs.

French photographer Olivier Dassault, born 1951 in Boulogne-Billancourt, France, works exclusively with the same film cameras he has used for 30 years to create pristine geometric compositions that envision an organised aesthetic of future urban architecture. Dassault’s visionary photographs execute unusual multiple exposure shots that intersect effects of light on buildings to create an organised labyrinth of illusions as if guided by the laws of physics. An accomplished pilot with world records in airspeed, Dassault also holds advanced degrees in mathematics and engineering, following a venerable family lineage of pioneers in aviation and politics. His visionary photographs champion technology for modern development, and have been featured in prominent photography publications as well as exhibited at prestigious European galleries and fairs.

Motivated by humanity’s responsibility to rehabilitate the objects and environments of our creation, the four artists presented in Urban Renewal seek to inspire urban progress for future generations.

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