Do Ho Suh in Venice: the lives of others. By Rachel Spence
"The house we were born in is more than an embodiment of home, it is also an embodiment of dreams." The French philosopher Gaston Bachelard's tender observation, made in his hymn to architecture, The Poetics of Space, speaks eloquently to the art of Do Ho Suh.
Born in Seoul, South Korea in 1962, Suh moved to the United States to study in his late 20s. The experience of displacement sowed the seeds of an oeuvre whose sculptural manifestations - from the blood-red fabric staircase suspended in Tate Modern to door knobs and radiators sculpted from pastel-rubbed papers - express a quiet longing to recover the intimacy of home.
His journey through the poetics of belonging, allied to a career that has seen him exhibit in institutions and biennales worldwide - currently he has a solo show, Do Ho Suh: Almost Home, at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC - made Suh the ideal choice when London's V&A Museum sought an artist to collaborate with on its project for the Pavilion of Applied Arts at this year's Venice Biennale of Architecture. Visitors to Venice hoping to see his sculptural works should be satisfied with a trip to the city's branch of Victoria Miro gallery, where his solo show of interior details - light switches, a telephone - replicated in paper will be on view.
Image: Video still from Do Ho Suh’s Robin Hood Gardens, Woolmore Street, London E14 0HG, 2018
© the artist, courtesy Lehmann Maupin New York, Hong Kong and Seoul, and Victoria Miro, London / Venice