Do-Ho Suh (서도호) is a contemporary artist renowned for his ethereal one-to-one-scale fabric replicas of former residences and domestic settings that have notions of memory, displacement, and home embedded into their permeable and translucent surfaces. Working across drawing, film, and sculpture, Suh investigates the malleability of space through his own history of migration, making visible the minutiae of personal histories, site-specificity, and architectural memory.Read More
Suh was born in Seoul, South Korea, in 1962. The son of respected modern ink painter Suh Se Ok, Suh studied Oriental painting at the Seoul National University before completing his military service in 1993. He migrated to the United States to escape the stifling environment, pursuing further studies at the Rhode Island School of Design and Yale University.
Do-Ho Suh's early paintings experimented with three-dimensional space. 'I was observing the form of scroll painting and screen painting in Asian art,' Suh told Ocula Magazine. 'I was interested in the notion that in addition to being transportable, Asian traditional painting allows for one picture to work as one piece or as several pieces. You can fragment the work.'
This revelation led to the works Floor (1997), and Some/One (2001), presented at the Korean Pavilion during the Venice Biennale. In Floor, thousands of plastic figurines upheld a glass floor that viewers were invited to walk across. Similarly, Some/One cloaked the gallery floor in dog tags, implicating the viewer in its mirrored interior. Both artworks recalled Suh's military service and its dehumanising effects that subjugate the individual in the name of the collective.
Do-Ho Suh's experiments with fabric and rubbings are renowned. He transformed the spatial and cultural disorientation of his arrival in the United States into collapsable silk installations. Home Within Home Within Home Within Home Within Home (2013), for example, recreates his traditional childhood residence within his Providence abode. The artwork—a ghostly life-sized facsimile rendered in sheer blue fabric—overlays temporal and spatial boundaries, acting as a metaphor for cultural displacement.
Suh's work Rubbing/Loving (2016) memorialised his New York apartment in which he had resided for 18 years. The artist covered the three-storey brownstone in coloured pencil and pastel rubbings, creating a highly personal aggregate of space and touch. In 2019, his 348 West 22nd Street (2011–2015) was gifted to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Suh is currently based in London.
Ocula | 2020