His story probably isn’t that different to yours. Do Ho Suh was born in South Korea, left to study in America, settled in New York, moved to Berlin for a bit then chose London as his home. Maybe your journey hasn’t taken you as far, but Macclesfield to Balham is still an uprooting. The point is, we’ve all moved, we’ve all had to leave ‘home’ to make new lives for ourselves at some point. Those moments of upheaval are Do Ho Suh’s total obsession and he uses his art to memorialise the places he’s lived in.
In the opening room of his show at Victoria Miro, he has stitched coloured mesh fabric together, recreating the doors and staircases of his past studios and homes. They are like pressed flowers, steamrollered on to paper. They’re 3D sculptures that have been flattened on to 2D planes, as if these doors and staircases have been crushed flat by some temporal anomaly, a catastrophic accident in space, a dimensional apocalypse.
Upstairs, he’s turned doorknobs and fuse boxes into fabric sculptures on eerily gleaming lightboxes. A film in the back room captures a walk around his north London neighbourhood from his kid’s-eye level. The works are pretty, but they’re the weakest part of the show.
It’s on the top floor that his ideas really start to envelop you. Suddenly, all those 2D visions of lost architectural spaces erupt into 3D rooms. These are perfect life-size recreations of corridors from his life, arranged end to end in gently undulating, pastel-coloured mesh fabrics. You walk through them, head spinning through the shades of greens, pinks and yellows. These corridors are spaces of transition – the places you need to pass through to get to where you need to be. They’re journeys, not destinations. The collision of colours makes it feel like you’re walking through a dream, floating through hazy memories, locked in an Instagram filter.
All of these works are attempts to make life’s fleeting moments permanent. It’s like Suh is desperately trying to hold on to things that none of us can hold on to – he’s freezing time, grasping at memories.
Suh’s story is my story. I was born on another continent, moving school and country every few years until London became home. Suh’s is your story too, it has to be, because it’s everyone’s.
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such intricate work and totally beguiling. I saw a fashion shoot in Wall paper filmed at the show, I thought it was going to be made of acrylic so what a lovely surprise.
Absolutely mesmerising! It's super pretty and amazingly detailed. I love the stitching work as well as all the other multimedia pieces available to enjoy in other sections of the exhibition space. It's free!! So please go see this amazing artwork! I'm so glad I went.