Choe U-Ram: Little Ark
Choe U-Ram: Little Ark
Image provided by MMCA
MMCA Hyundai Motor Series 2022: Choe U-Ram
September 9, 2022 – February 26, 2023, MMCA Seoul
About the Exhibition
MMCA Hyundai Motor Series 2022: Choe U-Ram—Little Ark is an exhibition designed in the form of a performance that reconstructs our current reality, bringing to the forefront a myri...
MMCA Hyundai Motor Series 2022: Choe U-Ram—Little Ark is an exhibition designed in the form of a performance that reconstructs our current reality, bringing to the forefront a myriad of questions inherent across the artist’s three-decades-long career. Choe takes as his starting point two of the most important issues in contemporary life: the climate crisis and the ongoing pandemic. The situation in which humanity's survival is threatened by an unprecedented crisis has provided an opportunity to re-examine and question things that have long been taken for granted. The escalation of anxiety and polarization caused by climate change and socio-political and economic crises clearly reveals the real portrait of an era of disorientation. In response, the artist constructed the exhibition with the “Ark” as the main theme and juxtaposed the contradictory desires that constitute the contemporary era, providing a place for the audience to ponder and raise questions about where we are ultimately destined.
The black colored Round Table placed in the center of the Seoul Box gallery is supported by 18 headless figures made from straw, and a round head placed on top of the table rolls around intermittently. The figures partake in a fierce competition to occupy the single head, offering no escape from the perpetual struggle. Hovering above are three Black Birds, rotating slowly and watching over the struggle taking place below. Who will get hold of the head? Who will be the loser? Who will be able to escape this strife?
Elsewhere, in one corner of the exhibition space, Red repeatedly blooms and withers while emitting fierce red light. If One, a large white flower at the entrance of Gallery 5, is a commemorative wreath made by the artist for the pain of his contemporaries who have experienced the recent pandemic, Red signifies how we must endeavor to move forward nonetheless, as well as the cycle of life itself. In order to truly navigate one's own voyage, one must constantly question and seek answers in pursuit of invisible fundamental values, rather than following the absolute or the desires of others.
Since the early 1990s, Choe U-Ram (b. 1970) has meticulously designed “anima machines” that produce movement and narrative. Focusing on how human desires are projected onto technological advancement and evolution, the artist has tapped into the realms of social context, philosophy, and religion over the past 30 years, expanding the scope of his perspective to question the meaning of human existence and symbiosis.
Following his first solo exhibition in 1998, Choe became the first Korean artist to hold a solo exhibition at the Mori Art Museum in 2006. He has held numerous solo exhibitions around the globe including Korea, the United States, Turkey and Taiwan. Since 1997 he has participated in various group exhibitions at the 2nd Gwangju Biennale, Seoul Museum of Art, Busan Museum of Art, Kumho Museum of Art, Manchester Art Gallery, Leeum Museum of Art, MMCA, and so on. He has received the POSCO Steel Art Award Grand Prize and Today's Young Artist Award for Fine Arts Sector in 2006, the Kim Se-Choong Sculpture Award for Young Artist in 2009 and was a Signature Art Prize Finalist in 2014.He was selected to participate in the Doosan Residency New York in 2009 and Autodesk Artists in Residence Program in 2014.