Seoul's Leeum Samsung Museum of Art is exhibiting Do Ho Suh remarkable "Home Within Home" until June 3. Suh's piece consists of several large-scale hanging fabric recreations of the houses he's inhabited.
An important characteristic of Suh’s “homes” can be found in the fact that they respond to the spaces in which they are exhibited and by doing so, bring about new interpretations to them. His artistic attempts in the unique Rem Koolhaas-designed architectural space at Leeum are especially remarkable in that light. Suh installed Reflection near the sloping passageway that leads to the exhibition galleries so that the work can serve as an introduction to the exhibition. In the Ground Gallery, he also built a home out of a soft, light, and translucent fabric that stands in a stark contrast with the almost overwhelming space made out of concrete. Suh first received wide attention from the international art world with a work in which he recreated, using thin jade-toned Chinese silk, the traditional-style house (hanok) in the Seongbuk-dong neighborhood of Seoul where he spent his childhood and adolescence. In addition to this work, titled Seoul Home/Seoul Home, he also presents in this exhibition other homes he has had in New York and Berlin. Through their placement in a museum, these private spaces become spaces for others that are open to interpretation through viewers’ experiences.
The Black Box, an especially distinct feature of the Koolhaas building, is like a “home within home” that floats inside the enormous space of the architecture. By placing two works, Fallen Star-1/5 and Home within Home-1/11, together in this space, Suh draws out an interesting conversation. Specifically, Fallen Star-1/5 expresses the emotions the artist experienced while living as a foreign student in the United States through the form of a hanok that fell and crashed into an American apartment building. On the other hand, Home within Home-1/11, taking the form of a hanok lodged inside an American house, represents the state of becoming gradually familiar with a new culture. While works like these grow out of the artist’s private experiences of cultural collision, they also symbolize more broadly the experience of the contemporary being, who constantly experiences clashes arising from individual, cultural, and regional “differences” and struggles to adapt to them. In A Perfect Home: The Bridge Project (Leeum Version) and Gate (Leeum Version), also installed inside the Black Box, Suh tries to give new meanings to “home as both boundary and passage.”
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