Installation Artist Do Ho Suh: Searching for Home in the Global Age. By Quincy Childs.
As the horizon of globalization expands, the notion of “home” becomes increasingly subjective. Open to myriad definitions, the modern-day hearth begs the question: precisely what does a home mean in our global age? Do-Ho Suh takes on this very question in his installation at MOCA Cleveland, an experience that encapsulates Suh’s œuvre as a whole: art that explores notions of “global identity, space, nomadism, memory, displacement, and the meaning of home.”
Exacting in his memories, Suh recreates the domestic spaces he has lived in: a childhood home in traditional Korean hanok style, a house in Rhode Island where he lived as a student, and his current apartment in New York. He constructs these renditions out of monochrome polyester and steel tubes. The result is a mnemonic trigger; they become architectural exoskeletons that speak through translucence. Yet their spectral force is pierced by the banality of daily life: tracing the sheer walls, Suh has stitched out replica inspection certificates and power boxes left ajar. The effect is like a jolt from a lucid dream.
Amidst the museum’s whitewashed walls stand out the filmy beams, ceilings, corridors, and stairs. The scene resembles a holographic architectural drawing, owing to its perfect, translucent form and clearly drawn structures. The vitreosity of the material evokes feelings of vague remembrance, or the heightened nostalgia that occurs when something escapes one’s tenure.