The News Service
Opening November 8, 2003
Bell Gallery to present work by Korean artist Do-Ho Suh
The David Winton Bell Gallery will present a new exhibition of works by contemporary Korean artist Do-Ho Suh from Nov. 8 through Dec. 21, 2003, in conjunction with Brown’s Korean centennial celebration. An opening reception and lecture by the artist are scheduled for Friday, Nov. 7, at 5:30 p.m. in the List Art Center Auditorium.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The David Winton Bell Gallery will present works by contemporary Korean artist Do-Ho Suh from Nov. 8 through Dec. 21, 2003. The exhibit, titled Do-Ho Suh, is offered in conjunction with Brown’s Korean centennial celebration.
An opening reception and a lecture by the artist – co-sponsored by the Rhode Island School of Design sculpture department – are scheduled for Friday, Nov. 7, at 5:30 p.m. in the List Art Center Auditorium. The Bell Gallery is on the first floor of the List Art Center, 64 College St. The exhibition, reception and lecture are free and open to the public.
Editors: Images of Suh’s work are available through the News Service (401 863-2476).
Do-Ho Suh was born in Seoul in 1962. After earning a B.F.A. and M.F.A. in Oriental painting from Seoul National University and fulfilling his term of mandatory service in the South Korean military, Suh relocated to the United States to continue his studies at RISD and Yale University. Today he divides his time between New York, which he tentatively calls home, and Seoul, where he visits family and fabricates works. The constant travel and the juggling of cultures and language have produced a disorientation – a feeling of being neither here nor there, which the artist describes as “transcultural displacement.”
“I don’t really get homesick, but I’ve noticed I have this longing for this particular space, and I want to recreate that space or bring that space wherever I go,” says Suh. In response, he has created copies of his homes – his family residence in Seoul and his apartment in New York – in diaphanous fabrics that can literally be packed in a suitcase and carried with him.
The Bell Gallery exhibition features three of Suh’s architectural installations, including “348 West 22nd St., Apt A, New York, NY 10011 USA.” Using patterns he made of his Chelsea apartment, Suh fabricated a life-size replica of his American home with the help of master seamstresses in Korea. Viewers can enter and walk through the replicated apartment, observing the fireplace, bookshelves, kitchen appliances, light switches, doorknobs and locks.
“Suh chose fabric for many reasons,” says Jo-Ann Conklin, the Bell Gallery director. “First, because the works needed to be light and transportable. When his first work – ‘Seoul Home’ – was shown in Los Angeles, Suh did, in fact, transport it in two suitcases that he carried with him. Equally important is that this insubstantial fabric is reminiscent of the architecture Suh grew up with – the rice paper walls of Eastern architecture. He also relates it to the use of mosquito netting in Korean homes.”
“In summer in Korea, you put up a mosquito net. It’s like a tent in your room, and you open all the windows and doors. So it’s like a space within a space, and it’s translucent,” Suh says.
Suh’s newest work, “Staircase,” was created in two versions: One is currently on display in the Istanbul Biennial; the other was fabricated for the dimensions of the List Art Center lobby. Made of in an intense red material, this striking installation features a staircase that extends from a ceiling of the same color and doesn’t quite reach the ground – giving the impression that the staircase is floating in an ethereal space. The work is based on the staircase between Suh’s apartment and that of his landlord; he has said it represents the interpersonal relationship between the two of them.
“It is a spacial manifestation of the human relationship and the ambiguous boundaries between personal and public space,” Suh says.
The exhibition will also include “348 W 22nd Street ... (corridor),” which maps the hallway outside Suh’s apartment. “Corridors and staircases, the areas between living spaces, hold particular interest for Suh, as he sees them as a metaphors for his state-of-being, the in-between spaces that are neither here nor there,” says Conklin.
Suh’s work has received widespread critical acclaim. He represented Korea at the 49th Venice Biennale and has had solo exhibitions at the Serpentine Gallery in London, the Seattle Art Museum and the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, Mo. His work has been included in Greater New York at PS1 Contemporary Art Center and in group exhibitions at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, Houston Contemporary Arts Museum and Taipei Fine Arts Museum, among other institutions. His first one-person exhibition in Korea is currently on view at the Artsonje Center in Seoul.
The David Winton Bell Gallery is open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays and 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. For further information, call (401) 863-2932.