The National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea (MMCA) presents Little Ark, an exhibition designed as a performance seeking to reconstruct the reality we are in, bringing to the forefront questions inherent in artist Choe U-ram’s body of work. The unprecedented crises that threaten humanity’s survival today have provided an opportunity to reexamine and challenge that which has long been taken for granted. As a response, Choe constructed the exhibition with the “Ark” as its central theme and juxtaposed it with contradictory desires that constitute the contemporary era, intending to provide a place for the viewer to ponder where we are ultimately destined to be.

Created with cutting-edge technology, Little Ark is a symbolic ark made of heavy iron and recycled cardboard boxes. Thirty-five pairs of oars stand erected like a wall alienating us, then begin a majestic dance as if the ark is spreading its wings. “Lighthouse” is placed on top of the ship, “Two Captains” and “James Webb” face opposite directions, “Angel” feebly slouches its body, “Anchor” makes it difficult to tell if the ark is docked or sailing, and “Infinite Space” is a metaphor for mankind endlessly chasing desires even in a time of crisis. These components all aim to maximize an ambivalent reality while drawing our eyes to “Exit.” The video — in which a door opens but then a closed door repeatedly emerges — is intended to invite us to delve into our desires, reflect on the present, and raise many questions. What is the purpose of this voyage? Where is the destination?

Little Ark is on view at Seoul Box and Gallery 5 at MMCA Seoul from September 9 through February 26, 2023.

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