On View at the Jones Center and the Betty and Edward Marcus Sculpture Park at Laguna Gloria
Net-Work will be on view at Laguna Gloria through May 31, 2015
Architectural settings and abstracted figures inspired by the artist’s biography serve as the central tenets of Do Ho Suh’s practice, highlighting the porous boundary between public and private space as well as notions of global identity, space, nomadism, memory, and displacement. Born in Seoul, South Korea, Suh is informed by his personal experiences in his work, particularly his move from South Korea to the United States in 1991, as well as the specific domestic spaces where he has lived, including his childhood home (a traditional hanok-style Korean house), a house in Rhode Island where he lived as a student, and his apartment in New York. Transparency, or the oscillation between opacity and visibility, appears throughout much of the artist’s work, evoking the layering of space and intermediate areas in Korean architecture. The figure also looms large, waiting in the wings, appearing throughout his work in abstracted or symbolic forms. Suh first began rendering domestic structures in 1994, an impulse turned into life’s work. These have been manifested, on one hand, in iterations of large-scale house sculptures—also riffs on his past and present family homes—variously bisected to show their interiors, teetering precariously atop or wedged between structures, or displayed in a gallery as if they have crashed through the ceiling, cast down by Dorothy’s tornado. Suh also weaves transparent structures made of monochrome polyester, at once luminous, architectural, and ephemeral, inviting viewers to wander through their dreamlike interior passageways (which might be replete with toilets and light switches). These transplanted homes are playful and imaginative but also deeply melancholy in their manifestation of disorientation: as impressions of the many residences in which Suh and his family have lived, they testify to the global and poignantly elusive nature of “home” as seen through the artist’s eyes.
For The Contemporary Austin, the artist renders a multipart installation for the Jones Center and Laguna Gloria exploring these themes, combining existing work with newly commissioned aspects and including architectural structures, documentary films, and drawings and related models. On the first floor of the Jones Center, Suh has created a dark, intimate room of light box objects from his Specimen Series, including a radiator, refrigerator, stove, and toilet, adjacent to a Secret Garden model and animation. The video room contains a behind-the-scenes series of documentaries showing the artist creating work over the past ten years. Upstairs, the viewer enters a realm of transparency and light, the centerpiece of which is the series of rooms and passageways from Suh’s 348 West 22nd Street apartment complex and studio where he lived in New York City, the final unit created and shown here for the first time on the occasion of this exhibition, representing closure for the series. Complementing the downtown installation, Suh has refabricated Net-Work on the newly installed floating barge at the base of the amphitheater on the grounds of the Betty and Edward Marcus Sculpture Park at Laguna Gloria. Inspired by the fishing nets in a traditional Japanese seaside village, where Net-Work was first installed, the shimmering, kinetic piece invites viewers to walk into its luminous embrace above the water. Absent didactic narrative but ripe with evocative content, Suh’s poetic works ask viewers to consider the definition of home: what it means, how it feels to have a home or be without, and the way in which we carry our past, present, and future dwellings around with us for the entirety of our lives.
—Heather Pesanti, Senior Curator
Do Ho Suh Exhibition Support: Alturas Foundation, Agnes Gund, Christopher Hill, Korean Air, The Moody Foundation, Linda Pace Foundation, The Moody Foundation, Meryl and Andrew B. Rose
Do Ho Suh
Do Ho Suh (South Korean, born 1962 in Seoul) splits his time between New York City, London, and Seoul. He received a BFA in painting from the Rhode Island School of Design and an MFA in sculpture from Yale University. His recent solo exhibitions and projects include Home within Home within Home within Home within Home, the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul (2013–2014); Do Ho Suh: Perfect Home, 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa (2012–2013); In Between, Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art (2012); Fallen Star, the Stuart Collection, University of California, San Diego (2012); Home within Home, the Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul (2012); and Wielandstr.18, 12159, DAAD Galerie, Berlin (2011). In 2001, Suh represented Korea at the Venice Biennale and subsequently participated in the 2010 Venice Architecture Biennale, the 2010 Liverpool Biennial, and the 2012 Gwangju Biennale. Suh was named WSJ. Magazine's 2013 Art Innovator of the Year.
The artist’s work is included in numerous museum collections worldwide, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York City; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City; the Guggenheim Museum, New York City; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Tate Modern, London; the Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul; the Artsonje Center, Seoul; the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo; the Mori Art Museum, Tokyo; and 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, among many others.
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