Lively Kinetic Sculptures by Yunchul Kim Pulse with Iridescent Color-Changing Cells

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Seoul-based artist Yunchul Kim echoes the heaving, lively motion of breath in his glimmering kinetic sculptures. Part of the ongoing Chroma series, the mixed-media works are reactive: small motors bend the transparent polymer material and cause an iridescent, color-changing ripple that pulses across the piece. Often suspended in a gallery space, the sculptures are knotted or shaped like a vortex, as in “Chroma V,” which references “subjects and symbols of culture and disciplines, such as ancient murals, nature, literature, art, philosophy, and science,” Kim says.

Alongside aesthetic concerns, engineering and the mechanics of each structure play a crucial role in the construction process. The resulting works are immersive and multi-sensory as the motors emit various sounds that correspond with the visual changes. “Chroma V,” for example, is comprised of 382 individual cells each containing its own device that subsequently produces hundreds of different reactions across the eight-meter work. The artist shares:

In the studio, I spent a lot of time trying to realize this, not to fit the artwork to the machine but to make a machine that fits the idea of the artwork, with numerous attempts and experiments. After the individual mechanical devices are completed, a work process in which software and mechanical devices connect is necessary to create an artistic event to enable communication between them.

This generative nature informs Kim’s practice, and he often transfers aspects of earlier projects into his next work. “When one piece is finished, this process does not stop but becomes a potential idea for the next new piece,” he says.

A forthcoming monograph of Kim’s paintings is slated for release this April, and he has several exhibitions upcoming, including this March at Shenzhen Museum of Contemporary Art and Urban Planning, in June at CERN Science Gateway in Geneva and Science Gallery in Melbourne, and this fall at Madre Museum in Naples. Until then, explore more of Kim’s work on YouTube, Instagram, and his site.

 

An animated image of the sculpture transforming from dark to light

“Chroma V” (2022), acrylic, aluminum, polymer, LED, motor, and microcontroller, 235 x 800 x 225 centimeters

A photo of an iridescent sculpture suspended in a gallery

“Chroma V” (2022), acrylic, aluminum, polymer, LED, motor, and microcontroller, 235 x 800 x 225 centimeters. Photo by Roman März

A photo of an iridescent sculpture suspended in a gallery

“Chroma V” (2022), acrylic, aluminum, polymer, LED, motor, and microcontroller, 235 x 800 x 225 centimeters. Photo by Roman März

A detail photo of iridescent "cells"

Detail of “Chroma V” (2022), acrylic, aluminum, polymer, LED, motor, and microcontroller, 235 x 800 x 225 centimeters. Photo by Roman März

A detail photo of iridescent "cells"

Detail of “Chroma III” (2021), acrylic, aluminum, polymer, LED, motor, and microcontroller, 230 x 140 x 170 centimeters

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