The Korean artist Do Ho Suh interprets spaces were he lived reproducing settings and architectural details through fabrics in unreal colours. The Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington is hosting a major solo exhibition of his work until 5 August
Giornalista, laureata in storia dell’arte, indaga ai confini tra le discipline, tra arte e design. Scrive per Repubblica e Arte. Appassionata di archivi, fa confluire le sue ricerche sul mondo delle gallerie italiane in www.artaround.info. Ha collaborato con il dipartimento di Sociologia dell’Università Bicocca di Milano, sul tema Arte, città e ambiente. A journalist with a degree in art history, she takes a particular interest in the points where disciplines meet, such as the borderline between art and design. She writes for La Repubblica and Arte, has a passionate interest in archives and presents her work on Italy’s galleries at www.artaround.info. She has collaborated with the Department of Sociology at Bicocca University, Milan, on the subject Art, the City and the Environment.
A texture of marks speaks of the place, of its history
Transparent and suspended. Do Ho Suh’s architecture of cloth almost seems to be on the point of vanishing. In his installations we find corridors, cupboards below staircases, doors, the residual spaces of life, of movement, translated into fabric and marked by unreal, dreamlike colours. They hover like ghosts. They are the rooms of his memory, the studios he has worked in, the houses he has lived in, the entrances he passed through as a migrant. There’s his childhood home in Seoul, his house-studio as a young man in New York, and then the one on Rhode Island, the studios in Berlin and London. Each work of architecture is turned into a doppelgänger: a sentimental replica, abstract and at the same time highly detailed, on a scale of one to one, created by layering its signs in an exhausting process of recording. First the Korean artist lines the interiors with large sheets of drawing paper, sticking them onto the walls.
The result is not so much wallpaper as a second skin that coats every surface. At this point he begins an extremely delicate work of frottage, a recording of the state of affairs, like a tracing. Do Ho Suh uses an ordinary pencil. With it he rubs, shades and retouches the white surface, capturing edges and minute details: a texture of marks that speaks of the place, its history and the passage of time. A handle, an old light switch, a crack, a part of a door appears. This architecture also leaves an impression on paper. It’s his way of saying goodbye to a place. Perhaps, or of keeping it with him forever. At this point, the artist translates the coating of paper into iridescent fabric, as if it were a paper pattern. The result an installation that can be explored, on the inside and outside. “An architecture of the soul, a place of memory,” as Do Ho Suh puts it, who was
dell’anima, un luogo del ricordo», spiega Doh Ho Suh, nato a Seul nel 1962 e formatosi negli Usa, che ha rappresentato il suo Paese alla Biennale di Venezia nel 2011. «Mi interessa la trasformazione dello spazio che ha accumulato la mia presenza e la mia energia in qualcosa che ha forma fisica e metaforica». Dal 13 marzo al 5 agosto lo Smithsonian American Art Museum presenta la mostra dal titolo Almost Home. Oltre a Hub, una grande installazione immersiva e onirica, riunisce un gruppo di repliche semitrasparenti di oggetti domestici dal titolo Specimen. In contemporanea, fino al 15 aprile, resta aperta l’installazione Passage/s al Bildmuseet, presso l’Umeå University in Svezia, e su un’intera facciata al 95 di Horatio Street campeggia una gigantografia illusiva, che apre una finestra dove un tempo correva la ferrovia. born in Seoul in 1962, finished his studies in the US and represented his country at the Venice Biennale in 2011. “I’m interested in turning space that has accumulated my presence and my energy into something that has physical and metaphorical form.” From 13 March to 5 August the Smithsonian American Art Museum will stage an exhibition entitled Almost Home. In addition to Hub, a large immersive and dreamlike installation, it also includes a group of semi-transparent replicas of household objects entitled Specimen. Concurrently, until 15 April, the installation Passage/s remains open at the Bildmuseet, Umeå University, while a giant billboard on the façade of 95 Horatio Street in New York opens an illusory window into a time when the railway still ran through there
Do Ho Suh, 95 Horatio Street, New York, 2017.
Sopra / Above, 348 West 22nd Street, Apartment A, Unit 2, 2011–2015 (courtesy Los Angeles County Museum of Art): veduta dell’installazione per la mostra / installation view, exhibition In between, Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art (2011). Sotto / Below, Doorknob, Wieland Strasse, 18, 12159 Berlin, Germany, 2016 (collezione privata / private collection). TAEGSU JEON
Passage/s (dettagli / details) installazione al / installation at Bildmuseet, Umeå University, Sweden.