Realized over the course of a year, Korean artist U-Ram Choe work is rooted in a journey to the American Southwest, where the artist encountered complete darkness for the first time. In this environment Choe observed the Milky Way, unpolluted by the atmospheric haze of artificial light. “I encountered the universe,” says Choe. “Passing moments of absolute being exploded into an immense history of life’s origin.”
“The speed of light fascinates me. Everything that we see in the sky has already happened,” says the artist. Evoking the awe and wonder of nighttime skies, several flickering orbs illuminate the gallery space and surround the viewer with sparkling nebulae.
Bringing the experience of stargazing indoors, the installation conjures galactic scale. At the exhibit’s center is three-tier swirling mass of treelike brass tendrils, resin and light. Forming a representation of the Milky Way, the motorized construction orbits an axis driven by electrical pulses. Programmed by the artist to run in tandem, a collective installation of nearly a dozen sculptures transforms the gallery into a planetarium of Choe’s own personal imagination or universe, filled with stars.
Using celestial motion as a metaphor for spiritual discovery, Choe expresses in this work an ageless curiosity of creation and the origins of life. Informed also by imagery gathered by the Hubble telescope, the individual pieces reflect an intense meditation on the cosmos as a record of spatial and temporal infinity. “The eye of science is looking at God, the beginning,”says Choe. “The rhythmic cycles of movement in the show attempt to capture vast physical record, and our present understanding of it.”
Text and images provided by bitforms gallery nyc
Photos by John Berens