Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Korean Artist Do Ho Suh's Architectural Installations, Sculpture, and Drawings Examine "What is Home?": Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego

Do Ho Suh: Architectural Installations, Sculptures, Video and Works on Paper

Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego

through July 4, 2016

Article by Cathy Breslaw

 Installation view, Do Ho Suh, The Contemporary Austin – Jones Center, Austin, 2014. Courtesy the artist; Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong; and the Kronos Collection. Photograph by Brian Fitzsimmons 

Korean artist Do Ho Suh creates architectural installations, sculptures and works on paper using themes of home, identity, space, memory and migration.  When Suh wanted to re-create his New York City apartment, he looked to using a transparent polyester fabric, some steel wire rods, and the old-school technique of “rubbings” to create his ‘architectural drawings’ which served as “patterns”. He wrapped his real-life walls with paper, then carefully used blue crayon/chalk to rub across all surfaces top to bottom - precisely and completely calculating all measurements. 

This process served as an intimate connection Suh made to ‘home’ and ‘memory’, making a literal indelible mark on his mind.  The exhibition displays the immense drawings of each wall/room and all its fine details including light switches, heat regulators, locks, door knobs, pipes and fixtures. 

The result are room sized, transparent re-creations of his apartment, studio and staircase. Viewers can easily move through these life-sized see-through multi-colored structures and observe all spaces at once. 

In a separate museum room with black-painted walls viewers observe series called Specimens,  single-encased large light boxes that house each appliance separately – refrigerator, bathtub, stove, and toilet.  Suh wants us to examine them beyond the objects themselves. The colored transparency of these common objects lends a sculptural point of view – as objects of beauty. 

Also included in this exhibition are a series of drawings made of multi-colored threads machine stitched and applied to hand-made paper.  It is within these drawings that we see some of Suh’s concentration on migration, his ideas about moving from place to place and his thoughts on identity. One drawing My Homes(2013) portrays a roughly hewn outline of a man made of black thread – while above his head two circles of several houses in various colors hang above – encapsulating Suh’s preoccupation with home, identity and moving as part of our globalized culture. 

Finally, a video mixed media animation Secret Garden (2012), depicts a replica of his home in Korea built by his father and where the artist grew up, as it is transported by semi-truck across the world to its ‘new home’ at Madison Square Garden in New York City. 

Do Ho Suh asks “What is home, identity and personal space in this globalized world with new and changing meanings, how do we maintain stability and who are we in relationship to what used to be our anchor – our ‘home’?”

Do Ho Suh, Apartment A, Unit 2, Corridor and Staircase, 348 West 22nd Street, New York, NY 10011, USA (detail), 2011–2014. Polyester fabric and stainless steel tubes. Apartment A, 271 2/3 x 169 3/10 x 96 7/16 in. Unit 2, 422 7/16 x 228 1/3 x 96 1/16 in. Corridor and Staircase, 488 3/16 x 66 1/8 x 96 7/16 inches. Installation view, The Contemporary Austin – Jones Center, Austin, 2014. Courtesy the artist and Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong. Photograph by Brian Fitzsimmons. 

Do Ho Suh, Specimen Series: Specimen Series: Stove, Apartment A, 348 West 22nd Street, New York, NY 10011, USA, 2013. Polyester fabric, stainless steel wire, and display case with LED lighting. 41 3/4 x 20 1/2 x 25 3/4 in. Display case, 73 2/3 x 36 1/5 x 34 4/5 in. Edition of 3, AP 1. Courtesy the artist and Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong. Photograph by Brian Fitzsimmons. 

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