On February 18, the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea (MMCA), announced that Choe U-Ram (b. 1970) has been selected as this year’s artist for the MMCA Hyundai Motor Series. The exhibition is scheduled to take place at the museum from September 2022 to February 2023 and will include the large installation work Paper Boat (working title) for the first time.
Seoul-based artist Choe U-Ram will offer viewers a chance to look back on the endless human ambition in the face of crisis, such as climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic, and a chance to re-examine the meaning of our existence in such situations.
Choe’s large-scale installations interplay with science, specifically mechanical engineering.
The sophisticatedly designed machines in the shape of plants, insects, and animals disguise their non-living nature by conjuring the flexible and delicate movements of life forms.
Choe gives a narrative to his kinetic sculptures, or “anima-machines,” by imitating the lifecycles of living organisms, and gives viewers a glimpse into an imagined ecosystem of the future.
The works betray the constant human desire to evolve and also remind us of our coexistence with science and technology, such as artificial intelligence and robotics.
Choe U-Ram started to gain recognition on the international stage in 2006 through a solo exhibition at New York’s Bitforms Gallery, which aims to introduce artists working with digital technology.
He has also held solo exhibitions at the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts (Taiwan, 2017), the Frist Art Museum (Nashville, 2010), and the Mori Museum of Art (Tokyo, 2006). His works were also featured in a number of group exhibitions, including the Amorepacific Museum of Art (Seoul, 2019), Singapore Art Museum (Singapore, 2016), the MMCA (Seoul, 2013), Daegu Art Museum (Daegu, 2013), and Manchester Art Gallery (Manchester, 2008).
His works are also in the collection of a number of renowned art institutions, such as the MMCA (Seoul); the Seoul Museum of Art (Seoul); the Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art (Seoul); and the Newark Museum of Art (New Jersey).
The MMCA Hyundai Motor Series is an annual exhibition project that introduces prominent Korean contemporary artists who are shaping the art scene. In partnership with Hyundai Motor Group, the 10-year art project has been held at the MMCA since 2014.
Choe U-Ram is the ninth artist of the MMCA Hyundai Motor Series. The other presented artists were Lee Bul (2014), Ahn Kyuchul (2015), Kimsooja (2016), Im Heung-soon (2017), Choi Jeong Hwa (2018), Park Chan-kyong (2019), Haegue Yang (2020), and Moon Kyungwon and Jeon Joonho (2021).
Hyundai Motor Group is currently carrying out various sponsorship projects to support the contemporary art world at home and abroad.
In addition to the MMCA Hyundai Motor Series, the MMCA and Hyundai are holding the exhibition program Project # to present two teams of creators with diverse artistic backgrounds, such as writers, architects, engineers, filmmakers, and choreographers.
With the United Kingdom’s Tate, the exhibition project Hyundai Commission is being held in Turbine Hall at Tate Modern from 2015 to 2026, and Hyundai Tate Research Centre: Transnational started in 2019 as an eight-year project to shed new light on Tate’s collections and redefine global art histories.
In a 10-year partnership with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) in the United States, The Hyundai Project: Art & Technology aims to support artists that bring together art and technology and increase awareness of Korean contemporary artists.
The VH Awards are given to Asian artists who work on media art, and the Hyundai Blue Prize is an annual award program for curators who highlight the value of art, technology, and design.
The group has also been working with Bloomberg, a media company, to publish a series of videos of artists using technology at the Art + Technology series. The group has been working with other organizations to conduct various exhibitions and projects as well.