After completing his high school studies, Do Ho Suh’s desire to be a marine biologist was hampered by his low math scores, so in a fortuitous move, he ended up applying to a Fine Arts degree at Seoul National University, where he was accepted.
Years later, in 1991, he moved to the US with his wife, and studied at the Rhode Island School of Design. There, he ended up attending – again fortuitously – his first class of contemporary sculpture, which changed the course of his career and his art.
Among this series of fortunate events, Do Ho Suh was steadily consolidating his work. Each of his pieces – drawings, installations, sculptures – alludes to the spaces he has lived in, but also those spaces all of us, whilst facing of his work, construct. In Passage/s there are external spaces and public and private interiors, which speak not of their perennial function, but of those who dwell in them, of their subjective memory, of their local, universal and emotional identity as well as their impressions.
Suh has developed his aesthetic manner based on the notion of daily and personal spaces. It is thus that in this exhibition, which will be on until March 18th at the Victoria Miro Gallery, you will be able to walk through corridors made in delicate fabric, recalling the artist’s multiple homes located in Seoul, New York and Berlin. A new process is present as well: his characteristic architectural pieces have been now compressed and framed.
Migration, both physical and psychological, has been one of Suh’s main themes, manifested here through a biographical narrative and an emotionally modulated architecture. Suh’s work draws attention to the forms that viewers occupy and inhabit in public space; he is interested in the malleability of space in both its physical and metaphorical manifestations, questioning the boundaries of identity.
“I see life as a passageway, with no fixed beginning or destination,” said Suh. “We tend to focus on the destination all the time and forget about the in-between spaces.”
Passage/s is on show at the Victoria Miro Gallery until 18 March 2017.
Courtesy the artists, Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong, and Victoria Miro, London. Photography: Thierry Bal.