Working across a multiplicity of media, Do Ho Suh is constantly testing the possibilities of scale, materiality, and identity. Interested in the interactions between body and art, memory and space, his art explores, plays and subverts pre-established boundaries. In this interview, which coincides with Artland—a work he co-created with his children, currently exhibited at Buk-Seoul Museum of Art—Do Ho Suh shares his thoughts on place and displacement, the contrast between Western rigidity and Eastern flexibility, cultural colonisation, imperialism, the importance of continuous experimentation and what it means to do away with individuality in the art world.
KOOZ KoozArch focuses on the un-built in architecture. Our first question tackles, precisely, the architectural component in your work. What is architecture for you? Is it a medium, a device, a trigger, a container, a shell?
DHS That’s a good question—I actually wanted to be an architect at one point, but I didn’t have the math grades! That said, my practice is about the body. It’s about the relationship between the body and the built environment, about what architecture is a stand-in for as well as how it moulds our interspatial and relational experiences; clothing as architecture if you like. Interestingly, I don’t see it as a shell or container so much as a passage or portal. Memory amalgamates in these spaces and memories shape our perceptions of them. Yet, they’re not stagnant. They’re not foreclosed environments in my work. They’re transportable, breathable and mutable.
Image: Do Ho Suh and Children, Artland, 2016–ongoing
Children’s modelling clay
© Do Ho Suh
Photography by Prudence Cuming