Asia Society Museum Presents U-Ram Choe: In Focus

On view September 9–December 31, 2011

U-Ram Choe (b. 1970, Korea) is best known for his meticulously designed kinetic sculptures made of acrylic and stainless steel, animated by robotics developed and programmed by the artist. Often equipped with motion sensors and suspended from the ceiling, Choe’s beautiful mechanic creations react smoothly—and sometimes alarmingly—to the movements of visitors around them. They are accompanied by texts that tell the story of their imagined evolutionary histories.

For this project, his first solo New York museum exhibition, Choe has created a new silent, kinetic work inspired by Shiva as Lord of the Dance (Shiva Nataraja), an Indian copper alloy sculpture from the tenth century, which depicts the Hindu god who is at once the creator and destroyer of the universe. The Shiva sculpture is part of Asia Society’s Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection of traditional Asian art. Custos Cavum, Choe’s new design, resembles the skeletal form of a seal-like animal with protruding reed-like structures, tipped with wings that rise and fall as if the creature is breathing. Slow, gentle, and feeble, the movements suggest the cycle of birth and death. The work will be shown with the Shiva sculpture that serves as its inspiration. In conjunction with the work that will be installed in the gallery, the artist will also create a related work for the Asia Society window space facing 70th Street at street level. The artist’s mythical story of Custos Cavum connects this small kinetic sculpture in the window to the larger installation that focuses on the circle of life and death.

The exhibition is part of Asia Society Museum’s ongoing ―In Focus‖ series in which contemporary artists create new works of art inspired by works of their choice from Asia Society’s Rockefeller Collection. The exhibition is curated by Miwako Tezuka, Associate Curator, Asia Society. Artists participating in recent ―In Focus‖ exhibitions at Asia Society include Michael Joo, Yoshihiro Suda and Yuken Teruya.

The full press release is attached below.