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gallery exhibition

Do Ho Suh

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


Light Work, Weighty Ideas
By David Rimanelli

The Korean artist Do-Ho Suh has established an international reputation in the last few years with exhibitions in New York, London, and Tokyo; he also represented South Korea at the 2001 Venice Biennale. How appropriate, then, that what has become his signature work to date metaphorically delves into the exigencies and melancholia of travel. Suh’s Seoul Home/L.A. Home/New York Home/Baltimore Home/London Home/Seattle Home (1999) is a billowing canopy of celadon silk suspended from the ceiling, representing his parents’ house in Seoul in all its particulars. Ghostly and fragile, this shadow building evokes home and also homesickness or deracination, as the unraveling title (referring to all of its exhibition venues) suggests. In an age when the demands of showing worldwide make many artists perforce into frequent flyers, the work conveys a certain bemused humor as well as wistfulness.

Reversing the transcontinental poles, Suh later recreated to scale his New York apartment for a show in Seoul; when the installation, called 348 West 22nd St., Apt. A, New York, NY 10011, traveled to Tokyo, he added the outside hallway. In its latest incarnation (at NYC’s Lehmann Maupin, through July 18), Suh incorporates the stairs leading to the next story. Unlike the floating Seoul Home…, Suh’s latest model allows the visitor to walk through it; the silhouettes of other "guests" are visible through the translucent nylon fabric that the artist employs. Painstakingly sewn like a garment, the nylon surfaces are by turns taut and slightly flaccid, endowing the spaces with a bodily vulnerablility. "I’m interested in portable space," Suh remarks. "I want to carry this thing with me, overcoming geographical and cultural differences. When I first showed Seoul Home… in L.A., I literally packed the entire piece in two suitcases."