Round Table: Choe U-ram's mobile statue gains attention on social media

The kinetic sculpture presents a provocative and thought-provoking narrative, being a success in the format of short videos

If you've been spending time on Instagram Reels or for you page from TikTok has a great chance of having already come across the work Round Table by Korean artist Choe U-Ram.


Constructed from an incredible combination of kinetic art and technology, mechanical sculpture arouses immediate interest and provokes questioning regarding social dynamics.

Exhibited at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Korea, Round Table is part of the MMCA Hyundai Motor Series exhibition 2022. The sculpture is made up of a gigantic round table supported by 18 headless straw statues. On the table, a straw sphere that represents one of the 18 absent heads and above fly over 3 black birds.

Sculpture moves so table tilt constantly changes, preventing the ball from falling out. Whenever the sphere is close to falling, the statues towards you stand up, changing the slope and forcing the sphere's trajectory in the opposite direction.

According to the author, the work has meaning open to interpretation, but it's hard not to recognize at least one common narrative. For the observer, to 18 statues seem to compete with each other, trying incessantly to take for themselves the head they don't have. When the statue is near, one or more statues rise to try to take it, but the sphere immediately rolls to the opposite side.

For some it is an allegory of modern social dynamics, representing the eternal struggle for power, or the inclement weather of the lower classes who fight among themselves while the higher classes watch from the top.

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Round Table it is very similar to another famous kinetic work on social media. Can’t Help Myself, by Chinese artists Sun Yuan and Peng Yu, is a work composed by an industrial robot, eternally wiping close to itself the oil that leaks from its structure and which is vital for its functioning.

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This kind of kinetic work, that provokes curiosity and immediate questions, has become very popular on the many pages of repost spread across platforms like Instagram and TikTok. The digital success of these pieces can be attributed to the ingenuity used in favor of the message that is quickly assimilated by the viewer., which goes well with the current format of video posts on social networks.

Kinetic works are works that use movement, mechanics and optical illusion. Just like traditional sculptures, they can use tools of all kinds, from electric sander paint kits and above all use creativity and basic or advanced mechanics. For the artist interested in assimilating the style, it is worth checking out the works of artists such as Choe U-ram, Sun Yuan and Peng Yu are also there Theo Jansen, creator of Strandbeests.

Text prepared by the Conversion team +.


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