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Do Ho Suh

  • Art, Installation
  1. Do Ho Suh - Passage/s , 2017, installation view, Victoria Miro, London
    Photograph: MCA/Thierry Bal | Passage/s, 2017, installation view, Victoria Miro, London
  2. Do Ho Suh - Staircase - III , 2010, installation view, Museum Voorlinden , Wassenaar, 2019,
    Photograph: MCA/Antoine van Kaam | Staircase - III , 2010, installation view, Museum Voorlinden , Wassenaar, 2019

Time Out says

Explore colourful ghost apartments and upside-down staircases in the MCA's summer blockbuster exhibition

Korean-born, London-based sculptor and installation artist Do Ho Suh is an incredible engineer of space and time. Like Doctor Who in the TARDIS, he can seemingly reconfigure the walls of any gallery to materialise incandescent forms that mess with the fabric of a room. He, quite literally, plays with our perceptions by creating ghostly fabric structures. 

Step into his incredible exhibitions and he’ll make you feel as if the gallery is bigger on the inside than out, or vice versa, playing with the idea of eternity and impermanence in a way that leaves you overcome with emotion. In the Tate Modern in London, he hung discombobulating upside-down staircases in gauzy red from the ceiling, like fragments of Escher’s dreams. Or there’s the intensely personal recreation of the apartment he used to call home in the New York neighbourhood of Chelsea, reconjured ghost-like over the bridge at the Brooklyn Museum. Mundane objects like a radiator or an oven were imbued with beauty simply by having their shape retraced out of pinned pale blue nylon. 

You can be transported by Suh’s shapeshifting spectacles with a massive solo show at the MCA, his first staged in the Southern Hemisphere, as part of Sydney International Art Series. A team-up with the Art Gallery of NSW and the state government, the event is about showcasing awesome artists' past and present work. Suh is a huge highlight. 

Taking in three decades-worth of work, it includes large-scale installations like the aforementioned ‘Staircase-III’ from the Tate Collection, and ‘Stove’, a detail from that Brooklyn show. There will also be a wow-making new piece ‘Rubbing/Loving Project: Seoul Home’ that recreates the curved tile roof of his parent’s traditional Korean hanok house by stitching together a series of rubbings he made of it and rebuilt within the MCA. Take a wander through multicoloured, interconnected structures with the ‘Hub’ series, and marvel at the thousands of teeny figures holding up the glass platform you can walk across in ‘Floor’. While you’re in this space, make sure to take a closer look at the wallpaper, which encompasses heaps of intimate portraits all smooshed into one glorious pattern. 

You’ll also get a sense of how Suh brings it all together up close and personal, thanks to a collection of models, prints and sketches, and be able to check out his video installation work too. Guest curator Rachel Kent is stoked to present such a sweeping look at Suh’s career. “Reflecting his own life journey, and the spaces he has inhabited from Seoul to New York to London, they gently map a wider communal experience,” she says. “Suh’s works sit between the collective and the individual - reminding us of our shared humanity, and equally, the fine balance between inner and outer worlds.”

Suh’s pretty happy to finally show in Sydney too. “It is hugely exciting for me to be exhibiting this body of work at the MCA in Australia,” he says. “Much of my work is taken up with the idea of how we clothe our movements through the world… I hope the exhibition will strike a chord at a time when we have all been forced to consider the boundaries and strictures of different spaces anew.”

Do Ho Suh opens at the MCA from November 4, 2022. Tickets start at $22 for adults, $10 for concession, $50 for families, and children 12 and under can visit for free. Snap up your tickets here.

Want more? Check out the best art exhibitions to see in Sydney this month.

Written by
Stephen A Russell


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