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Do Ho Suh
Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego Downtown, San Diego, California
Recommendation by Cathy Breslaw

Do Ho Suh, "Apartment A, Unit 2, Corridor and Staircase, 348 West 22nd Street, New York, NY 10011, USA," 2011-2014, Polyester fabric and stainless steel tubes, Apartment A, 271 2/3 x 169 3/10 x 96 7/16"; Unit 2, 422 7/16 x 228 1/3 x 96 1/16"

Continuing through July 4, 2016

Korean artist Do Ho Suh creates architectural installations, sculptures and works on paper that draw on themes of home, identity, space, memory and most poignantly, migration. When Suh decided to re-create his New York City apartment, he looked to using a transparent polyester fabric, steel wire rods, and the old-school technique of frottage to create architectural drawings which serve as patterns. He wrapped his real-life apartment’s walls with paper, then carefully used blue crayon/chalk to rub across all surfaces top to bottom. This process establishes an intimate connection between home and the memory of home. The installation is built around the inclusion of the immense transparent drawings of each wall/room, to which the artist adds all its finer details, such as light switches, heat regulators, pipes and other fixtures. We easily move through these life-sized, see-through, multi-colored structures even as we observe all spaces at once. 

In another gallery with black-painted walls are a series of “Specimens," large light boxes that each house an appliance: refrigerator, bathtub, stove and toilet. The colored transparency of these common appliances transforms them into objects of beauty. Among a series of drawings made of multi-colored threads that the artist machine stitches and applies to hand-made paper, "My Homes" portrays a rough-hewn outline of a man composed of black thread. Above his head spin two circles of houses. Finally, a video mixed media animation titled "Secret Garden” depicts a replica of his childhood home in Korea, which has been transported by truck across the world to its new home at Madison Square Garden in New York City.  It is a body of work that interrogates the meaning of home, identity and personal space in the content of globalization, filled with implications about the evolving meanings of no longer quite so familiar cultural structures. Experiencing this work makes us wonder how we maintain stability and who are we in relationship to what used to be a primary anchor — our home.

Published Courtesy of ArtSceneCal ©2016

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