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“It breathes. It flickers. It flashes. It whispers.”

Entering a mysterious space from another dimension, mechanical organisms move freely as if defying gravity, maintaining a slow rhythm, emitting an unusual energy and light. Each of Choe U-Ram’s mechanical art works are the stuff of myth and legend. Like encountering a déjà vu they evoke familiarity, yet are unfathomable and strange organisms, filling their surroundings with their soft breath and light, as if having existed since the dawn of time. These unknown creatures float between the present and the future, moving in a slow elegant rhythm, filtering light and shadow. The moment audiences enter into the exhibition, they are met with a fantastical scene. Mechanical organisms echo the viewer's body temperature and wandering footsteps with a slow movement and warm cosmic light, evoking in the audience the memory of the dialogue between time and space.

Choe U-Ram's exhibition【stil laif】will be held on 3 June 2017 at the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts. The exhibition will showcase a selection of 33 art works spanning Choe's career from 2003-2017, his largest exhibition to date. Choe's art works can be situated in the comprehensive context of aesthetics, sculpture, natural sciences, mechanical engineering, and the history of civilization development. He creates mysterious yet fascinating dynamic mechanic installations with stainless steel, delicate metals, electronics, ambient light sensors and LED lights. A kind of mimicry of life and breath, transforming cold steel into organisms that have the tender warmth of human nature. Traces of their breathing are illuminated by a glowing light, they are hailed as 'Anima Machine'.

The exhibition name 【stil laif】 can be phonetically read as "Steel Life," "Steal Life," or even "Still Life," creating ambiguous associations for viewers. Seeing the works move rhythmically and glowing faintly, viewers experience a sense of contradiction, surprise and contrast.

Choe takes his name, U-RAM, and turns it into an acronym for "United Research of Anima Machine". In Latin, the word "Anima" connotes the soul, life and motion. His works are not only moving sculptures, they are living entities. As Choe creates each work, he presents scientific analysis to authenticate their identity; at the same time, he questions the truth of biological memory and the reality of space time. “I have always thought of them as living beings; that’s how I give them Latin names, as if they really actually exist.”

The 2011 work Custos Cavum stems from the interpretation of Shiva Nataraja (the dancing Shiva), re-interpreted into a story that tells of a guardian protecting the connection between two worlds. Choe U-Ram saw images of the Antarctic Weddell seal and the body of an airplane abandoned in the aircraft graveyard at Mojave Desert. These two contrasting images formed the symbolic story of the guardian. "Last night, I saw Unicuses start to grow from the last bone of a Custos Cavum in my small garden. According to an old story, Unicuses will grow whenever the holes to the other world are open again." The cross between reality and fantasy, and the ambiguous nature of mystical aesthetics, creates the enigmatic charm that exudes from Choe U-Ram's works.

The intangible imagination is materialized, while tangible reality is elevated into the realm of fantasy. Through complex engineering, meticulous artistry and the use of electronic parts, Choe turns the ambiguous image of myths into life-like entities, the ever-changing 'Anima Machine'. The elegant moving poses and complex incongruous structures, is reminiscent of the bizarre exotic beasts from The Classic of Mountains and Seas. Creating an ambiguous space where it is difficult to distinguish between the ancient and the futuristic; goodwill and danger, evoking mysterious and varied interpretations of the imagination.

Since 2010 Choe U-Ram has increasingly referenced natural science and social fables, the names of his art works include Latin and Sanskrit, creating the impression that they have been in existence for a long period of time, from religious records to legends, connecting the celestial bodies to social events. The 2014 art work IMAGO is a creature that possesses one heart but two minds, its two heads are locked in an endless cycle of opposition, contradiction, and fusion, symbolic of the internal conflict of humankind's existence. The 2012 works Pavilion and Merry-Go-Round directly discusses the corruption of modern society, the pursuit and worship of materialistic fame and fortune, where glorious resplendence and vain beauty turn into ghostly illusions. Scarecrow (2012) uses the metaphor of angels and demons; electric cables wrap around its slender body and wings, standing tall in the corner of the gallery space. When the angel beats its wings, its hollow body reveals a soft shimmering light, gaps between the wires radiate both light and moving shadows, like a bird of Satan. The work URC-1 uses more than 300 car head lights and steel to create a symbolic image of a sparkling star. Choe takes the city’s effervescent desires and compresses them into a block, while one contracts the other expands, creating an impact that will be like a thunderous explosion in the universe.

Choe U-Ram's works include an international series called City Energy. The latest art work of this series Ala Aureus (2017) is created with 78 butterflies inspired from Taiwan's native species, with their delicate wings opening and closing, portraying the spirit of Taiwan, transforming into an island of hope. Surrounded by the dance of countless butterflies, casting a golden light with dazzling gestures, the work presents an impressive debut interpreting Taiwan, extending across the world a vitality for life filled with hope and infinite excitement. This work follows the earlier work Urbanus (2006) exhibited at the Tokyo Museum of Fine Arts, and Opertus Lunula Umbra (2008) exhibited at the Liverpool Biennale, UK. The art work Ala Aureus will once again bring the City Energy series into center stage, electrifying the international art scene.

Lustful hunt or madness, mythological creature or urban parasite, Choe U-Ram's mechanical sculptures materialize gothic beauty and the swift passing of time in their movements. This is an anxiety of the contemporary world. However, facing chaos, humankind’s primal fear, Choe’s complex insights, astonishing artistic beauty, and new ideas outline a vision of a future world, inviting all creatures. Evoking a dream-like aesthetic formed from an infinite imagination, interwoven with the illusion of cosmic entities. As if having journeyed from antiquity and arriving at a futuristic alchemy, Choe's works convey a unique, incredible and breathtaking charisma.

"The definition of life is ambiguous; once the machine starts to move, it is a life born." A once in a life time must see exhibition, from 3 June - 3 September we warmly welcome you to Choe U-Ram's enigmatic world and explore the mysteries of the 'Anima Machine'.


Ala Aureus / 2017 /  460(w) x 190(d) x 330(h) cm / metallic material, resin, machinery, electronic device (CPU board, motor, LED)

Scarecrow / 2012 / 370(h) x 500(w) x 240(d) cm /
electric wire, synthetic leather tape, metallic material, motor, hydraulic cylinder, custom CPU board, LED lamp

Merry-go-round / 2012 / 190(h) x 110(w) x 110(d) cm /
handmade merry-go-round, sound system, metallic material, motor, gear, custom CPU board, LED

Ouroboros / 2012 / 12(h) x 130(Ø) cm / metallic material, resin, 24K gold leaf, motor, machinery, custom CPU board

IMAGO / 2014 / 175(h) x 270(w) x 289(d) cm / metallic material, machinery, magnet, electronic device (CPU board, motor, LED)

Jet Hiatus / 2004 / 88(h) x 222(w) x 85(d) cm  /
steel, acrylic, machinery, synthetic resins, acrylic paint, electronic device (CPU & LED board, motor)

Nox Pennatus / 2005 / 84 x 107 x 86 cm / Stainless steel, brushed acrylic, circuits, motor, CPU board, custom software

Norm / 2016 / 367(h) x 165(w) x 165(d) cm / metallic material, type measure, resin, motor, gear, ,custom CPU board, LED

Custos Cavum / 2011 / 220(h) x 360(w) x 260(d) cm / metallic material, resin, motor, gear, custom CPU board, LED

Unicus-Cavum ad initium / 2011 / 108(w) x 45(d) x 82(h) cm / metallic material, motor, gear, custom CPU board
Varietal Urbanus Female / 2007 / 216(h)x216(w)x137(d) cm /
Etched stainless steel, LED, circuits, motors, CPU board, custom software, cable

Urbanus Male / 2006 / 25(h) x 25(w) x 287(d) cm / metallic material, machinery, electronic device (CPU board, motor)

Urbanus Female Larva / 2006 / 50(h) x 60(w) x 60(d) cm / metallic material, machinery, electronic device (CPU board, motor) *Left
Urbanus Male Larva / 2006 / 25(h) x 25(w) x 57(d) cm / metallic material, machinery, acrylic, electronic device (CPU board, motor)*Right


Urbanus Female / 2006 / 389(h) x 389(w) x 233(d) cm /
metallic material, machinery, metal halide lamp, electronic device (CPU board, motor)

Pavillion / 2012 / 244(h) x 132(w) x 112(d) cm /
resin, wood, crystal, 24K gold leaf, plastic bag, metallic material, fan, motor, custom CPU board, LED

Ultima Mudfox / 2003 / 65(h) x 150(w) x 55(d)cm /
metallic material, machinery, acrylic, electronic device(CPU board, sensor, motor, small lightbulb)

Gold Cakra Lamp / 2013 / diameter 55cm / metallic material, machinery, electronic device (CPU board, motor, LED)

Gold Insecta Lamp / 2013 / 36 (h) x 15(w) x 15(d) cm /
stainless steel with 24k gold plated, machinery, magnet, electronic device (CPU board, motor, LED) *Left
Silver Gold Insecta Lamp / 2013 / 36 (h) x 15(w) x 15(d) cm /
stainless steel with 24k gold plated, machinery, magnet, electronic device (CPU board, motor, LED) *Right

Temple Lamp / 2013 / 82(h) x 36(w) x 50(d) cm /
metallic material, machinery, 24k gold leaf, glass, resin, electronic device (CPU board, motor, LED)

Gorgonian Chandelier / 2013 / 210(h) x 107(w) x 96(d) cm /
metalic material, machinery, electronic device(CPU board, motor, LED), resin

Una Lumino Callidus Spiritus / 2016 / 263(h) x 776(w) x 43(d) cm  /
metallic material, machinery, electronic device (CPU board, motor, LED), polycarbonate

Self portrait / 2012 / 90 x 93 x40 cm / resin, stainless steel, copper

URC-2 / 2016 / 350(h) x 200(w) x 200(d) cm / Hyundai motors tail lights, metallic material, LED, custom CPU board, PC *Left
URC-1 / 2014 / 296(h) x 312(w) x 332(d) cm / Hyundai motors head lights, steel, COB LED, aluminum radiator, DMX controller, PC *Right

*Show Room*