When Do Ho Suh broke onto the New York art scene in the late-1990s, you could tell a star was born. A graduate of Seoul National University, Rhode Island School of Design and Yale University, Suh mines the traditions of his Korean heritage while reflecting on his personal experiences. His sculptures and large-scale installations present the uniforms he has worn in life, the homes where he has lived, and people from all walks of life coming together to create a unified force.
The artist represented Korea at the 2001 Venice Biennale, has had more than 60 solo museum and gallery exhibitions worldwide, has participated in multiple biennials and important group exhibitions and has work in the collections of major museums internationally.
I first discovered Suh’s compelling work in his very first New York exhibition, a group show titled “Techno / Seduction,” at The Cooper Union in 1997 and first wrote about it for Artnet when he was in the Public Art Fund exhibition “Beyond the Monument” at MetroTech Center Commons in Brooklyn the following year.
The piece at The Cooper Union was Who Am We?, which is an installation of wallpaper made from thousands of photos of teenage faces taken from high school yearbooks. Printed as tiny portraits in a grid format, the piece blurs the boundary between the individual and the masses. Still one the artist’s favorite artworks, he later said of Who Am We?: “In the title I wanted to underline the distinction between singular and plural. In the Korean language, there is no such distinction."
Image: Do Ho Suh, Fallen Star, 2012
© the artist
Courtesy Lehmann Maupin New York, Hong Kong and Seoul, and Victoria Miro, London/Venice