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The Age of Disorientation: ‘MMCA Hyundai Motor Series 2022: Choe U-Ram – Little Ark’

exhibition Park Jiyoun Nov 14, 2022

SPACE November 2022 (No. 660)​ 


Installation view of Round Table (2022) / Images courtesy of MMCA


Installation view of Little Ark (2022)​ / Images courtesy of MMCA​


In an era of heightened anxiety, due to climate change and socio-political and economic crises, in what direction is humankind heading? This is the question raised by ‘MMCA Hyundai Motor Series 2022: Choe U-Ram – Little Ark’, held at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA), Seoul. Eighteen headless bodies of straw support a black Round Table (2022), with a single round head rolling around on the table. Each body rises to take possession of the head, but at that moment, the round table tilts, causing the round head to roll in the opposite direction. In this way, the act of moving the body up and down is ambivalent. Little Ark (2022), a hull with a vertical axis of 12m and a height of 2.1m, also prompts disorientation. It maintains a rectangular shape and starts sailing by lifting its folded oars like a white wall. The work, which exhibits the momentum and majesty of sailing through the grand dance of these oars, is in harmony with various sculptural installations located above and around the hull. The Two Captains (2022), in which two people are sitting in the hull, seated back to back, looking in opposite directions, and raise their index fingers in front of each other as if shouting that they should both move forward. It is intended not to know which side is front and back and where to go to be forward or backward. One of the two captains is facing the Exit (2022). It is a short-channel video of a door that is constantly opening, creating the notion that one is always going out without knowing where one is coming from. In front of the captain on the other side, Infinite Space (2022) is installed. It creates a space of another dimension with no end by installing two mirrors facing each other. Meanwhile, at this exhibition, Choi Woo-Ramʼs Design Drawings (2021 ‒ 2022) were also unveiled for the first time. Just as detailed construction drawings offer dimensions and thicknesses of each window before construction, his drawings remind us of the artist’s meticulous approach to his works of art. Rather than giving an answer to ‘where are we going,’ Choi helps us perceive the question itself. Recognition that we are heading ‘somewhere’ must set an informed direction, and only then will one be able to give oneself the rudder. The exhibition is on show until Feb. 27, 2023. by Park Jiyoun