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Contemporary Kinetic Sculpture by U-Ram Choe to be Featured at Frist Center
U-Ram Choe, "Echo Navigo" (conceptual photograph), 2004. Lambda print, 8 x 6 inches. Courtesy: Bitforms Gallery NYC.
NASHVILLE, TN.- The Frist Center for the Visual Arts will feature seven works by Korean kinetic artist U-Ram Choe in an exhibition opening to the public Feb. 19, 2010. U-Ram Choe: New Urban Species will be on view in the Gordon Contemporary Artists Project Gallery through May 16, 2010.

U-Ram Choe’s kinetic sculptures are made of delicately curved sections of wrought metal, joined together in movable parts that are driven by motors to expand, contract, or otherwise suggest the autonomic motions—such as breathing or swimming—of such primitive life forms as plants and single-celled aquatic creatures. The intricate workmanship and graceful movements of these mechanical sculptures offer viewers an unparalleled visual delight.

Evoking new developments in genetic engineering, prosthetic technologies, and robotics, these graceful and disturbing works propose the existence of new species that, while constructed of inorganic materials and powered by light and electricity, mimic the behavior and appetites of living beings.

In an elaborate pretense of the field of natural history, the artist has allegedly discovered these “anima-machines” living in hidden spots in the modern metropolis. In playful allusions to the methodologies of biologists or botanists from the Age of Discovery, Choe uses a Latin nomenclature in titling the creatures, and provides detailed pseudo-scientific descriptions of their habitats and behaviors.

“Choe’s work is compelling, mesmerizing and a bit unsettling,” said Frist Center Chief Curator Mark Scala. “As you view the sculpture, the charm of his gently undulating and unfolding organic shapes gives way to the recognition that today, actual botanical, animal, and mechanical hybrids are under development by bio-engineers who may be less concerned with the unintended consequences of manipulating nature than with seeing how far they can expand the boundaries of life,” he said. The works in U-Ram Choe: New Urban Species have profound philosophical implications that invite consideration of the subject of life’s origins, evolution, and future.

Born in 1970, U-Ram Choe lives in Seoul, Korea. He has had solo exhibitions at The Crow Collection of Asian Art in Dallas, the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo, Japan, and bitforms gallery in New York. His work also been exhibited at the Shanghai Biennale, Seoul Museum of Art, Samsung Museum, Sungkok Art Museum, Busan's Metropolitan Art Museum, Galleria d'Arte Moderna in Bologna, Seoul Olympic Art Museum, and Seoul Forest Open Air Sculpture Symposium. Choe’s works are in the Crow Collection, Sungkok Art Museum, and the Galleria d’Arte Moderna, Bologna, and the Manchester Art Gallery.

The Frist Center for the Visual Arts | U-Ram Choe | Contemporary Kinetic Sculpture |

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