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Do Ho Suh at Lehmann Maupin, NYC
September 8 – November 5, 2022
Lehmann Maupin is pleased to present an exhibition of new work by London-based artist Do Ho Suh. Working in a variety of media including sculpture, drawing, photography, and film, Suh explores ideas of home, memory, psychic space, and displacement. In this exhibition, Suh expands his exploration of the politics and subjectivity of memory, a concept that has remained central to his practice for the past 25 years.
Suh has long been interested in the role of public monuments, which he helped explore for the first time public figures (1998) and particularly in what he terms the “self-authorizing scaffolding” of the pedestal. The presentation opens with Reverse Monument (2022), a large-scale extruded thermoplastic polyester sculpture developed as part of an ongoing research project with a robotics team at the Center for Print Research, UWE Bristol. This project, which combines robotic and analogue techniques, emerged during the pandemic and shows the artist’s interest in questioning the authority and agency of the artist’s hand. Intricately rendered, tangible yet translucent, Reverse Monument relies on generalized concepts of an “ideal” monument based on the lexicon of Western statues and the power structures maintained within them. The required commemorative figure is positioned upside down in the body of a classically proportioned plinth, with the top of the figure’s head brushing the base. Here, Suh directs the viewer’s gaze from the top of the plinth all the way down, turning the logic of the public monument on its head and questioning what and who we want to elevate in public spaces.
Also included in the exhibition is a new work composed of elements of Suh’s long-term work sample Series. Suh’s example consists of detailed fabric reproductions of objects from his past and present homes and studio spaces and includes doorknobs, light switches, cabinet handles and bathroom fixtures. Each sculpture is precisely measured and modeled after a household item commonly touched by the artist—those items with which we often have a deep and undeniable familiarity. During suhs sample normally displayed in groupings by type or location, in this exhibition the artist brings together more than 400 objects to create a new installation titled Jet lag (2022). Suh combines multiple geographies and different phases of his life into a single work, summarizing physical coordinates and linear time and presenting them all sample as part of the sum total of a lifetime domestic memory and opens up the possibility of viewing the space as transportable.
The exhibition also features photographs, drawings, and plans that expand on Suh’s portraits of life in a globalized world—sometimes whimsical, sometimes architectural in their specificity. In a number of these works, Suh offers speculative possibilities for artworks that would be literally or metaphorically impossible to realize, but offer alternatives to the status quo. a sky (2022) comprises a series of photographic skyscapes from locations around the world that are significant to the artist. Research into connectivity, urban development and living conditions in lockdown, a sky presents a slight, horizontal sliver of built structure beneath an expanse of sky.
On the lower level of the gallery, an immersive video installation explores the relationship between the public and the private. Don a (2022) chronicles the architecture of one of the earliest Modernist apartment blocks in the South Korean city of Daegu before its planned demolition. Through an intricate process of carefully captured time-lapses from which he produced overflights, Suh captures the building’s textures and materiality. Using complex rigging systems, the camera moves from the outside of the Don a Building to its interior – and back again – plays with the demarcation between these spaces and suggests the porosity of the building. The work functions as a record of a specific location and a poignant portrait of houses before destruction. With Don a and throughout the exhibition, Suh asks viewers to reflect on what we remember and why, from the private sphere to our most public spaces.