Giant Serpent Sculpture “Gyre” at Art Exhibition in Venice

An art sculpture designed for the Venice Biennale 2022 has taken the Korean Pavilion to new heights with 6 large-scale pieces, including 5 sculptures in a collection named “Gyre.” All 5 designed by artist and electronic music composer Yunchul Kim.

Giant Serpent Sculpture "Gyre" at Art Exhibition in Venice at the Korean Pavilion |
Giant Serpent Sculpture “Gyre” at Art Exhibition in Venice

The curated exhibition is inspired by a 1919 poem by William Butler Yeats called “The Second Coming.” The Irish poem is about a “widening gyre,” or a large-scale whirl, spiral and vortex transforming the world into a state of anarchy. to itrish poet describes how a ‘widening gyre’ would unleash anarchy unto the world. 

The Second Coming by Willian Butler Yeats

Turning and turning in the widening gyre   
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere   
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst   
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.   
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out   
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert   
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,   
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,   
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it   
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.   
The darkness drops again; but now I know   
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,   
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,   
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Kim’s sculptures are designed to stimulate spectators senses showing them the dynamic, fluid and oftentimes, terrifying cycles of beginnings and endings. Its central sculpture, featured in the photo above, called “Chroma V,” is a 164-foot serpent-like sculpture. Its rigged outline and tangled layers have snake-like links with exposed nerve endings connecting one unto the other. It has a pulsating effect seemingly coming alive as visitors witness its reflective gleaming body under the exhibition lights.

This chromatic kinetic sculpture is connected to a muon particle detector. Muons are particles created when outer space particles collide with our atmosphere. “Argos – The Swollen Suns,” another installation created by Kim, detects muons in real time sending signals to kinetic installations. “Chroma V” was one of these installations with triggering movement due to the muon detector.

“Chroma V,” is made up of 382 cells of transparent laminate polymers giving it the futuristic-like metallic sheen. Internally, its kinetic sensors cause microscopic deformation of the polymer layers on their surface. This allows them to change luminosity and hue, appearing like they are alive, breathing, and moving.

The Venice Biennale 2022 featured 80 national pavilions, each showcasing their own works of art, including a myriad of sculptures and themed exhibitions. “Chroma V,” was one of the most technologically advanced and unique installations featured in the 59th Biennale.