Art Corner: The Kinetic work of Uram Choe

Kinetic art is art that depends on movement for its effect. Artist, Uram Choe utilises this in his sculptures. The artist who is widely recognized for his work creates pieces that stimulate and fascinate. We were lucky to grab an interview with this internationally renowned artist.

Mimi: What inspired you to become an artist?

U.Choe: My childhood dream was a scientist, building robots. Like any children at that age, I pursued this dream watching robot animations like ‘Taekwon V’ and ‘Mazina Z’. There’s always a doctor present in robot cartoons and he fixes them every time they are injured from battles. I wanted to be that kind of a scientist. My parents drew and painted so I was unquestionably influenced by them and entered art school. My dream of becoming a scientist was completely forgotten. Then I had a chance to learn about kinetic art in college and this dream of mine revived again and naturally I became an artist producing works that I am currently doing.

Mimi: What inspires your work?

U Choe: I get inspirations from everything around me. I especially like nature documentaries; I’m deeply interested in nature and life.

Ouroboros, metallic material, resin, 24K gold leaf, motor, gear, custom CPU board, LED 12(h) x 130(Ø) cm)

Ouroboros, metallic material, resin, 24K gold leaf, motor, gear, custom CPU board, LED 12(h) x 130(Ø) cm

Mimi: Some artists have stated that they want to be recognized as being just artists rather than being known for their nationality. What are your thoughts on this?

U Choe: Never thought about that before…If you ask me to choose, I too want to be recognized as just an artist. I think art work transcends not only borders, but also every classification, discrimination, prejudice etc.

Mimi: Are you influenced at all by your Korean identity when creating your work?

U Choe: Of course, I was born and raised in Korea. Sometimes I wanted to live overseas. I had a chance to do a residency in New York and I have learned something big from this experience. It was a difficult environment for me to make work there. Korea is fast-paced, precise, and has reasonable price in producing art works. It is a perfect place for my projects. If I had not worked in Korea as a Korean, I think I would have had a totally different career of works.

Mimi: Is there a message that you are trying give with your work?

U Choe: It is different for every work. I try to visualize things that I am concerned with at the time and express an earnest message in my works. I think it is up to the audience rather to take in or not. Even if I talk about the beauty of life, people might receive it as the sorrows of life. I do not want to convey a message by force.

Mimi: Do you have any favourite pieces or shows that you have done?

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Pavilion, resin, wood, crystal, 24K gold leaf, plastic bag, metallic material, fan, motor, gear, custom CPU board, LED 244(h) x 132(w) x 112(d) cm

U Choe: This is a hard question to answer. Every work has distinct stories. If I really have to choose one, I want to pick my recent solo exhibition at Gallery Hyundai in Seoul. I held a solo show ten years ago in Korea so I was really nervous. I was full of anticipation, anxiety, and mixed feelings. My work, Pavilion among that exhibition is most memorable because it was like a beginning of new series. I used to work with Anima machine as a subject before, but for the past few years I became interested in religion, society, classification, authority and my works are really changed. Pavilion is like a self inquiry to what human beings are truly craving for in the midst of the human civilization immersed in gold. This work is beautiful and agonizing to me as well.

Mimi: Any upcoming shows for 2013?

U Choe: I’m having a solo exhibition at Borusan contemporary in Istanbul, Turkey from February 1, 2013 and also a small project solo show in Korea in fall.

Mimi: What would you like people to understand when they look at your work?

U Choe: I want people to experience a slightly different world, even for a split second.

For me, Choe’s work seems ethereal and other worldly. I also get a sense of calmness and the union of nature and mankind. This union brings about a new form represented by the work that Choe creates.

To see more of his amazing work, check out his website: www.uram.net

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