Lehmann Maupin is pleased to announce a presentation of iconic works by acclaimed Korean artist Do Ho Suh. Showcasing the range of Suh’s practice—including large and small-scale architectural fabric works, thread drawings, watercolours, and bronze sculpture—this marks the second presentation in the gallery’s newly opened London space and the first of Suh’s in London since 2017. Notably, this presentation also marks twenty years since Suh’s first exhibition with Lehmann Maupin in the United States.
Born in Seoul and now based in London, Suh is known for a multidisciplinary practice that confronts questions of home, memory, marginality and the correlation between psychic and physical space. His autobiographical fabric sculptures recreate, to scale, spaces of his former residences and studios. Reflecting an itinerant life, these highly detailed portraits feature buildings, rooms and domestic objects from past and present homes in Korea, Rhode Island, Berlin, London, and New York.
Anchoring this presentation at Cromwell Place will be Hub-1, Entrance, 296-8, Sungbook-Dong, Sungboo-Ku, Seoul, Korea (2018), a one-to-one scale reproduction of a corridor area from Suh’s childhood home in Seoul. The work, part of the artist’s renowned 'Hubs' series, explores the in-between spaces one inhabits before entering rooms, where the relationship between exterior and interior, public and private is blurred.
The artist’s interest in transitional spaces can be read, in part, as a response to the porous quality of traditional Korean architecture, in which rooms are reconfigured for different purposes throughout the day and the natural environment beyond the brick and rice paper walls is keenly felt. Playing with notions of site-specificity, Suh has described the 'Hubs', which are easily transportable despite their scale, as ‘survival mechanisms’ that allow him to carry ideas of home with him. The 'Hub', its translucence a nod to the malleability of memory, is activated when the viewer temporarily inhabits the work.
The presentation also includes a set of 'Specimen' works; exquisitely sewn fabric versions of household objects found consistently, but with subtle variations from country to country, in homes across the world—in this case, lighting fixtures from Suh’s New York studio and its adjacent corridors, as well as his former homes in Seoul, Berlin, and Providence. Whether a light fixture, fuse box or intercom, Suh distills the feeling and memory of a place in these quotidian forms; simulacra of the objects that silently punctuate the everyday.
Suh’s interest in how we construct and maintain our sense of selves, as well as our sense of security, extends beyond place-making. In his three-columned Karma (2015), the artist focuses on human connectivity through a literal representation of the self in relation to others. Visualising the complex interconnected web of relationships that make up one’s life by stacking uniform figures, one on top of another, Suh questions where the individual starts and ends.
Referencing the Buddhist concept of Karma, these ideas are expanded upon in a pair of thread drawings, in which myriad coloured skeins of fiber are manipulated on sheets of paper pulp to create hugely detailed images in the thread. The results of this pioneering, labour-intensive technique is complimented by the spontaneous poignancy of a number of recent watercolours, also on display.
About the Artist
Do Ho Suh (b. 1962, Seoul, Korea; lives and works in London) received a BFA in painting from Rhode Island School of Design in 1994 and an MFA in sculpture from Yale University in 1997. Solo exhibitions of his work have recently been organised at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, UK (2019); Museum Voorlinden, Wassenaar, The Netherlands (2019); ARoS, Aarhus, Denmark (2018); The Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY (2018); Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville, TN (2018); Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C. (2018); Cantor Arts Center, Stanford, CA (2018); Bildmuseet, Umea, Sweden (2017); Mori Art Museum, Tokyo (2015); Bristol Museum & Art Gallery, Bristol, United Kingdom (2015); The Contemporary Austin, TX (2014); National Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul (2013); 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, Japan (2012–2013); Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art, Japan (2012); Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul (2012); and Tate Modern, London (2011). Select group exhibitions featuring his work include, When Home Won’t Let You Stay: Migration Through Contemporary Art, Institute of Contemporary Art Boston, Boston, MA (2019), Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis, MN (2020); Waking Dream, Ruby City, San Antonio, TX (2019); Crossing Lines, Constructing Home: Displacement and Belonging in Contemporary Art, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, MA (2019); Altering Home, 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art & Culture City of East Asia, Kanazawa, Japan (2018); Shelter in the Storm, A Look at the Exile in the MUSAC Collection, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y Léon, León, Spain (2018); Art of the Senses, Albright-Knox Gallery, Buffalo, NY (2017); No Place Like Home, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem (2017); Apparitions: Frottages and Rubbings from 1860 to Now, The Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, traveled to the Menil Collection, Houston, TX (2015); Shades of Time: An Exhibition from the Archive of Korean American Artists, Part Two 1989–2001, Queens Museum, NY (2014); Homebodies, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL (2013).
Suh has participated in multiple biennial exhibitions, including the Chicago Architecture Biennial (2019), Singapore Biennial (2016); the 9th Gwangju Biennale, South Korea (2012); the 6th Liverpool Biennial, United Kingdom (2010); the 12th International Architecture Exhibition, Venice, Italy (2010); the 8th International Istanbul Biennial (2003); the 13th Biennial of Sydney (2002); and represented Korea at the 49th Venice Biennale (2001). His work is in numerous international public and private collections, including 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, Japan; Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; Art Gallery of Ontario, Ontario, Canada; Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, MD; Bard College Museum, Annandale-on Hudson, NY; Brooklyn Museum of Art, Brooklyn, NY; Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, OH; Daegu Museum of Art, Daegu, South Korea; Garage CCC, Moscow, Russia; Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; Gwangju Biennale Foundation, Gwangju, Korea; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA; Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Israel; Linda Pace Foundation, San Antonio, TX; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA; Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan; Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León, León, Spain; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA; Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, Japan; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX; Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; Museum Voorlinden, Netherlands; National Museum of Contemporary Art, Gwacheon, Korea; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA; Rhode Island School of Design Museum, Providence, RI; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA; Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY; Tate, London, United Kingdom; Vera List Center for Art and Politics, The New School, New York, NY; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; and the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT.
Press release courtesy Lehmann Maupin.