In one of the more memorable exhibitions I’ve seen in quite some time, the Smithsonian American Art Museum presents “Do Ho Suh: Almost Home,” through August 5, 2018. Below is an excerpt from a piece for Architectural Record:
Some people who want to remember the places they’ve been collect souvenirs, refrigerator magnets, tchotchkes, or other pocket-sized signifiers of place; others create albums full of photos taken on whatever cameras were available during their stay. Not so for Do Ho Suh, whose ability to recall and reproduce places makes him perhaps the most compelling architectural artist alive.
Suh’s exhibition, “Almost Home,” which opens today at Washington, D.C.’s Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM), explores the intersections of space, time, and memory as they relate to the most intimate places he has inhabited. Details rendered perfectly in hand-stitched, translucent fabrics lend an air of absolute authenticity to his “Specimens,” which are ethereal takes on quotidian household objects such as doorknobs, thermostats, circuit breaker boxes, and radiators. These articles—some hardware, some appliances, each more exquisite than the last—line the walls of the exhibition, categorized by the places where Suh lived and observed them.
“My own personal experience of trans-cultural displacement is what motivates my inquiry into the motion of space,” Suh says at the exhibition’s opening lecture. He speaks of his upbringing in Seoul, in a house that was itself a replica of a scholar’s cottage; and of his immigration to the United States at the age of 29, in 1991. He studied at the Rhode Island School of Design
, and earned his graduate degree at Yale, before settling in New York, where he lived for 20 years. In those two decades, he began to do rubbings of his dwelling, putting to paper the imprints of the space in which his daughters would learn to crawl as patterns to be cut, stitched, and reassembled into full-scale cloth replicas of that apartment.
Read the full story at Architectural Record.