Do Ho Suh’s immersive architectural installations—unexpectedly crafted with ethereal fabric—are spaces that are at once deeply familiar and profoundly alien. Suh is internationally renowned for his “fabric architecture” sculptures that explore the global nature of contemporary identity as well as memory, migration, and our ideas of home. The exhibitionDo Ho Suh: Almost Home is organized by Sarah Newman, the James Dicke Curator of Contemporary Art. It is the latest in a series of projects at the Smithsonian American Art Museum that situates the art of the United States in a global context.
SARAH NEWMAN: "Almost Home" is a collection of work by Do Ho Suh that explores the nature and meaning of home. Do Ho Suh was born in Korea in 1962. "Almost Home" includes drawings, small-scale fabric sculptures that depict objects and appliances, and a sequence of large-scale, immersive sculptures that represent different places that he lived throughout his life. The hallway in his apartment in New York is pink. The hallway from his apartment in Berlin, where he lived in 2002, is green. And the corridor from his childhood home in Seoul is blue; that is a new work that will be seen for the first time in this exhibition.
All of Do Ho Suh’s work is handmade, and hand stitched. The craftsmanship is the result of years of training with Korean artisans. As much as the details are tangible, they’re made out of this very sheer material, so they’re almost dissolving in front of your eyes. I always think of them as kind of like the experience of waking up and trying to capture a dream.
I am Sarah Newman, the James Dicke curator of Contemporary Art at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and I’m the curator of “Do Ho Suh: Almost Home.” The exhibition is a good fit for the Smithsonian American Art Museum because it takes a broad view of national identity and encourages us to think about American life as made up of many different experiences and many layers. Do Ho Suh’s work reminds us that individual places really matter and that as global as the modern world is, it is still anchored by tradition and culture.