Migration, both spatial and psychological, has been one of Suh’s themes, manifested through biographical narrative and emotionally inflected architecture. Best known for his intricate sculptures that defy conventional notions of scale and site-specificity, Suh’s work draws attention to the ways viewers occupy and inhabit public space. Interested in the malleability of space in both its physical and metaphorical manifestations, Suh constructs site-specific installations that question the boundaries of identity. His work explores the relation between individuality, collectivity, and anonymity.
Do Ho Suh’s giant installation represents two previous residences the artist lived in at 1:1 scale, one structure inside the built with jade-colored silk evoking the feel of a 3D blueprint. The smaller structure is a traditional Korean home where Suh grew up a child which he then suspended inside a replica of his first residence in the United States, a modern apartment building in Providence, Rhode Island. The piece is so large that visitors are invited to walk inside and virtually explore it.
I really like the idea of hybridity in the sculpture, bringing together two countries which Suh continues to work between. In a way it reminds me of the stitched floor plans – drawn from memory – I made of six tyneside flats I had lived in and how it would be interesting to stitch the houses I lived in, in Korea. Or actually all of the houses – 44 at last count. That would be a real test of memory!