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gallery exhibition

Do Ho Suh

May 30 – July 18, 2003
540 West 26th Street

New York Sun


While Ms. Mori’s world is digital and virtual, Do-Ho Suh impresses with the tangible. His visual world is expansive, but it’s rooted in detail, in attention to how things are scaled and put together.

The artist’s work deals in part with how each individual defines his space, and how that space can be both flexible and transportable. In moving from his native Seoul to New York in his late 20s, he felt the nomad’s desire to carry his territory with him. Mr. Suh made his name in 2000’s "Greater New York" at P.S.1, with "Seoul Home / L.A. Home / New York Home / Baltimore Home / London Home / Seattle Home" (1999): a translucent, pale green silk sewn sculpture modeled on his childhood home in Seoul and suspended from the ceiling.

At Lehmann Maupin now is a new installment of this evolving project: "The Perfect Home II" (2003). With great care and craftsmanship, Mr. Suh has recreated, in translucent nylon of the lightest blue and purple, his New York apartment — and it’s tremendously beautiful.

With seams that are delicate and precise, the artist describes all the familiar details of his — and possibly any New Yorker’s — living space: the window frames, doorknobs, an intercom, light fixtures, built-in cabinets in the kitchen, a stove with all its dials, the sink faucet and the refrigerator’s handles, intricate plumbing in the bathroom, a length of pipe running along the ceiling in the hall, the stairs which lead to the next floor complete with handrail. All these details, although made only from fabric, retain their shape; and even the "bricks" in the "walls" are indicated by lean scribbles of thread.

You can walk around the construction, and the thin skin of the rooms — reminiscent of a gorgeous kite — allows you to see the ghost-like forms of the other visitors walking and pausing inside. Mr. Suh has created a personal space that’s at once recognizable and ethereal; the figures occupying it look at home from the outside, while really only passing through. To spend time in that space is to see the most obvious things that you have in common with so many others, rendered with incredible attention. This, I think, is as close as art gets to creating connections.