Kind like a second skin. That’s what a house is to artist Do Ho Suh (1969). Grown up in South Korea and immigrated to the United States when he was 18, he became fascinated by the theme “home”. Questions like “how do we relate to spaces we live in?”, and “what does it mean to be home?” occupied him. Later, in 2003, he made an impressive architectural installation about it, shown on the photo above, which you can see at Museum Voorlinden (Wassenaar, Netherlands) at the moment. The stair is a replica from his apartment in New York, where he felt at home for the first time in a long while, after leaving Korea. For the artist this fabric version of that house gives him the opportunity to carry his precious memories to wherever he goes.
Lots of patience
The making process of these architectural installations takes quite some time. In the documentary Home Away from Home of Marjolein Boonstra, shown in the auditorium of Museum Voorlinden, you can see how Do Ho literally duplicates former places he lived at to paper and builds those houses up again in fabric and stainless iron. To put the fabric where he wants it to be, he uses an embroidery machine and also stitches by hand for more complex parts & details of the installation. The details show a glimpse of the countries he lived in.
I was very impressed by these details. What an (eagle’s) eye for detail he has. And even more…. what a patience…! Me myself I’m a quite a go-getter, but there’ s no question that I can match Do Ho’s endurance…
Innovative use of threads
A big surprise for me in this exhibition were the thread drawings. Note: I’m not speaking metaphorically now. Do Ho Suh has created a new technique to attach threads to paper. The result is an effect of a drawing. made with threads.
How it works? First he embroiders an image to gelatin tissue. Then he puts this embroidered tissue to a wet handmade cotton rag paper. And ta daaa, the gelatin dissolves and the threads adhere to the fiber of the paper. What a great invention! When I saw the first one, Staircase, it felt like “bingo” to me. Such an special image, such a special feeling… And not the forgot… a wodnerful choice of colors … mixing different shades of red, purple and neon orange….
Do Ho invented this way of working because he wanted to express in the fluid nature of the concept “home”. To me that’s a very interesting theme. When I look at his work, it seems to me that feeling at home was more a struggle than a fluidity. What about you… could you feel at home on different places around this globe? Is home a flexible concept to you?
Houses of threads
Another work that fascinated me is the big size work My Homes, made in 2014. With this thread drawings Do Ho shows us memories, fantasies and experiences about his perceptions of “home”. It ‘s impressive and inspirational to see how many images one can have about it. There must be at least a hundred thread drawings of “home” in this work. Here below I show you some parts of it. Varying from a house as a parachute when falling from the sky, to a home existing of the body of Do Ho himself.
As far as Do Ho is concerned, the perfect home is situated above a bridge between Korea and America… At least it was in 1999… So in his experience once you get to know “another” home (land), the new one gets into your system and makes a connection with your initial homes. That’s quite a contrast to our worlwide habit of making differences between our home(land) and that of “others”… How would it be, a world without states, borders and walls to keep the “other” out of our home(land)… Heaven? Or hell?
More about Do Ho Suh
Do Hu Suh earned a BFA and MFA in Oriental Painting from Seoul National University. He fulfilled his term of mandatory service in the South Korean military. He relocated to the United States to continue his studies at the Rhode Island School of Design and Yale University. Nowadays Do Ho Suh lives with his family in London. To see more of his work you could look at https://art21.org/artist/do-ho-suh/.
More about Museum Voorlinden
This museum is a private one, situated at the beautiful landscape of Wassenaar, the Netherlands. I have only one word to describe it: it’s beau-ti-ful. The building is an example of beautiful contemporary architecture, it has a beautiful garden, the vibe there is mindful, there is a beautiful sunny terrace for some bites and drinks, there are beautiful designged gardens (of Piet Oudolf), it has a beautiful bookshop and last but not least, it’s close to the beautiful dunes and North sea. By the way… I don’t have any stockings in it, if you might think so :-). For more information see: http://www.voorlinden.nl/museum/. This exposition can be seen till September 29, 2019.
Want to read more often….
… about embroidered art? Then leave your email here below (left side) and you’ll get a sign when there’s a new post. For now… enjoy creativity!