U-Ram Choe, based in Korea, is a contemporary artist who works with kinetic sculpture. He was born to sculptors, and his grandfather was a scientist who designed early automobiles. He is inspired by the grandeur of the physical realm and creates complex kinetic sculptures that combine delicate, otherworldly beauty with machines, motors, and steel.
November 2006 marked Choe’s debut in the United States as he opened a solo exhibition at Bitforms gallery in New York City. Since then, he has exhibited at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts in Nashville, the Trammell & Margaret Crow Collection of Asian Art in Dallas, the 2008 Liverpool Biennial at FACT, Foundation for Art and Creative Technology in Liverpool, Shanghai Biennial in Shanghai, Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art in Seoul, Mori Art Museum in Tokyo, SCAI The Bathhouse in Tokyo, NTT Intercommunication Center (ICC) in Tokyo, Art Basel, Seoul Museum of Art in Seoul, Sungkok Art Museum in Seoul, Metropolitan Art Museum in Busan, Galleria d’Arte Moderna in Bologna, Beijing Expo Center in Beijing, Seoul Olympic Art Museum in Seoul, Asian Art Triennial, and Manchester Art Gallery.
U-Ram Choe refers to his work as "a story of a machine gaining life with the element of movement and the theme of machine." His works distinguish from other kinetic sculptures for their interaction with spectators. His machines are inspired by the movements of living creatures, thus making them as natural as possible, but using the least elements.
U-Ram Choe's Gold Cakra Lamp (2013) surrounds with a central axis rotating counter-clockwise and 6 cylinders simultaneously rotate in a clockwise direction. Each cylinder is engaged with metal plates crafted in certain patterns, which move up and down from 90 to 120-degree angles. There is a total of 5 layers, each with 6 decorative plates, in the shape of wings or clouds. One metal plate on a lower layer meshes with two plates on an upper layer. The forms of the metal plates vary depending on the layer, and alternate between brass and stainless steel, in terms of material. As they move from one direction to the other, the metal leaves gather towards the center, and then spread out, infinitely repeating the movement of opening like a flower in full bloom and then closing, in correspondence to the title, which means "wheel" in Sanskrit.
This work, which is one of the simplest works made by U-Ram Choe, is invested with a significant level of technical exquisiteness and formal beauty, both structurally and aesthetically. It is this character, i.e. the formative beauty of the structure and details, and the delicate grace of movement, that differentiates Choe's moving sculptures from other kinetic sculptures.