press release

The Contemporary Arts Center (CAC) presents the first major survey of celebrated Korean American artist Do Ho Suh's architecture-inspired work in the US. Suh was born in Seoul, South Korea in 1962 and moved to the US in 1991 to attend school. He currently lives between London, New York and Seoul. Every structure he has lived in throughout this time serves as inspiration for remarkable meditations on the meanings of home and migration. Each abode becomes manifest in an ongoing series of life-size fabric replicas that float gently, but vividly in space—hovering like architectures of the mind. In the process, Suh fashions a uniquely immersive exchange where our movement through his structures reorders histories that have yet to fully settle.

Passage includes a pair of Suh's most iconic installations as well as a series of structures newly produced for this exhibition. The centerpiece of the show is a three-story stairwell from Suh's monumental rendering of his New York apartment at 348 West 22nd Street—detaching it from function to amplify it as transition. This path moves through multiplied layers of memory as seen in the seminal work Reflection, a mirrored replica of the gate to the artist's childhood home in Korea. In the Hub series, the present continues to remap the past as Suh connects various rooms, halls and thresholds from apartments in Berlin and London into a constellation where timelines merge and marry into one.

Within these structures, the "Specimen Series" mines deeper into the details of Suh's domestic existence—turning everyday appliances (i.e. refrigerator) into uncanny lightboxes. His relationship with the nuances of living space grows all the more intimate in the Rubbing/Loving Project Suh created for the Gwangju Biennale in 2012. Gwangju was the site of a democratic protest in 1980 that was suppressed by the government and censored by the news media. To this day scant information on the tragedy is available. To reflect upon this fitful legacy Suh orchestrated scale rubbings of now vacant domestic spaces in Gwangju while blindfolded—symbolically re-inscribing the invisibility of this incident into his country's history. In so doing, Suh makes monuments to the lives of those who survived the uprising, and whose stories are still largely unknown.

Suh's prolific drawing practice will also play an important role in Passage, highlighting the significant role and varied forms this medium plays in his oeuvre. The exhibition will feature a wide spectrum of his works on paper, including drawings rendered in pen, pencil, ink, and watercolor; his unique "thread" drawings embedded in cotton paper; as well as Suh's large-scale rubbings. By way of scale models, maquettes, preliminary drawings, animations and video documentation, Passage also features some of Suh's most important public projects including Fallen Star and the In-Between Hotel. All of these threads unite in a pair of new video installations, Passage and Stroller, which showcase the accelerating, but still playful path of virtual travelers through the architectures that bridge real and imagined.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a full color catalog, more details regarding featured writers and publisher are forthcoming.

Do Ho Suh: Passage is curated by CAC Curator Steven Matijcio, and is on view until September 11, 2016. It is generously supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, Bartlett & Co., Lynne Meyers Gordon M.F.A., David and Sara Osborn, 1919 Investment Counsel, Korean Air, CJ Culture Foundation, Emersion Design and ArtsWave Corporate Partner: American Financial Group.