U Ram Choe: Kinetic Sculptural Installation Artist
U Ram Choe’s work just blew me right away when I first saw it. I came upon it by chance when I bought a book, “Contemporary Korean Artists” (edited by Miki Wik Kim), at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles. The book was published in 2012 and since I had recently begun to use current technology (electronics, programming, interactive) in my art via the tutelage of Suk Jun Kim, my professor from Korea, I picked up the book and brought it home to Silver City.
The book contains many outstanding artists. I just ate it up. But when I came to U Ram Choe, I gasped. His work is described as kinetic metal sculpture, animatronics, and many other ways, but basically, it is metal sculpture that moves. Media he often uses are “metallic material, motor, LED, CPU board, machinery…” etc.
I work in steel, starting in the Fall of 2011. I also started working with electronics in 2012. U Ram Choe is Picasso; I’ve just started to draw squares. I stand in awe.
His work is delicate and intricate. The parts are clearly machined. One of my favorite pieces, “Custos Cavum,” (2011. Steel, stainless steel, brass, aluminum, resin, CPUs, and motors) took seven months to make with seven assistants. U Ram Choe has an entire mythology built around the piece. “Custos Cavum” means “Guardian of the Hole” in latin. This creature is the bridge between two worlds. This kind of mythology built around his work is a regular motif.
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Custos Cavum, 2010 by U-Ram Choe from U-Ram Choe on Vimeo.
U Ram Choe was born in Korea in 1970, and received a BFA in 1992 and an MFA in 1999 from Chungang University in Seoul. Though he has had exhibitions and opportunities all over the world (and I mean everywhere – Turkey, Switzerland, New York, you name it), he now is a professor at Korea National University of Arts. I respect that. I have no idea about his personal life, but I kind of get tired of hearing of everyone running off to New York or some major European capital city as soon as they become famous. But that’s my personal beef with the art world. And the internet is making it easier to create your work where you want to.
Below are links to familiarize yourself with this amazing artist (watch the videos to the the full effect of this kinetic artwork):