I have been wanting to see the translucent fabric structures made by Korean artist Do Ho Suh for a long time. This show at Victoria Miro did not disappoint. In the uppermost gallery is an installation made of fabric reconstructions of entranceways to many of the places he has lived in, from his childhood home to where he lives now in London. I find this work both joyful and intriguing. Joyful because of the colours and the enticing detail; intriguing for the range of house/apartment types, the different styles and dates, the feel of the different places. Suh says he wants ‘to blur the boundaries of geographical distance’ and he certainly achieves that by juxtaposing these architectural spaces as though one could just walk between times and places.
Here is a video walkthrough of the whole piece.
He has been making works like these for some years, but alongside were two newer types of work. The first involve a process I don’t quite understand: the ‘signature architectural pieces are compressed into large-scale two-dimensional ‘drawings’. Using gelatin tissue, the works are sewn in the same way as Suh’s architectural fabric pieces. Once immersed in water, however, the gelatin dissolves, fusing with the paper to leave an image in which the threads appear like a skeletal framework against the coloured form of the object.’ The results are a stunning extension of the fabric constructions, pinning them down like gigantic specimens and bringing to the fore not their volume but their colour and the stitched structure.
The other works that excited me involved a series of lightboxes with household items recreated in white fabric with stitching. One contained a string of light bulbs on wire, almost like a giant garland of Christmas tree lights. In the same gallery was a cyanotype photograph of the same work, and another of the ‘impressed drawings’ made on paper. The three pieces together were like some sort of anatomical illustration of the object.