His work deals with issues of displacement, cultural identity, and how this affects ones experience of space.
Fallen Star 1/5 is set up as the center piece of the show. It is awe inspiring in its careful replication of Do Ho Suh's 2 homes; one in Korea and the first one he had in America in Rhode Island. The press release describes the work:
Fallen Star 1/5 reflects a chapter within a fairytale-like story that Suh constructed to depict his journey from Korea, in which he described feeling “as if he was dropped from the sky.” In this narrative, a tornado lifts Suh and his Korean home, transporting him to the U.S. where the tornado then drops him and the house on a building in Providence. The work depicts this crash and the fusion of the two homes. As Suh has said of the work, “It’s my personal journey from Korea to the U.S. and the story of the house that came along with me, or brought me here.” Home within Home depicts Suh’s attempt to search for the perfect home.
The piece is incredibly interesting to look at with all the minute details but beyond that falls a little flat for me. The miniaturized doll house affect of the work neutralizes the story for me a little too much and lacks the soul of previous works by Do Ho Suh.
For me Home within a Home, which is installed alone in a back room of the gallery, is much more successful. With photo sensitive resin Do Ho Suh constructs his Korean home seamlessly into his Providence home. The piece glows like ghost of memory. It appears fragile but also indestructible- an interesting dichotomy. I also like the poetry of the piece and wish that maybe the violence of Fallen Star could be bigger to create a more powerful contrast between the 2 works.
From press release:
...Home Within Home are merged together, and it is not clear whether the artist’s Korean home has grown inside of his Providence home or if the Providence home is swallowing the Korean home. Walls and doors have been cleared in the Korean home to make the spaces between the two houses more porous. The work is dissected into four quadrants made of translucent resin, each quadrant raised and pulled apart so that the audience can walk through.
I was of course drawn to the fiber work in the exhibit, he has done a number of large scale installations with transparent fabric before, but in this installation he singles out objects from his NYC home. They act as vignettes of home. I was particularly attracted to them as I am currently starting to work on 4 pieces that are based on "Still Lives" of my home.
Do Ho Suh's work is always impressive and though this is not the most powerful work I have seen of his it is well worth the trek to Chelsea.