Do Ho Suh’s first solo exhibition at Victoria Miro coincides with his recent decision to relocate to London. Entitled “Passage/s,” the show reflects on the notion of home as a physical structure and platform for the exploration of issues relating to identity and our relationship to our chosen locations.
The centerpiece of the show is a sculpture made up of nine modules that Suh refers to as “Hubs” (2015–16), each of which isolates architectural elements from far-flung buildings that the artist has inhabited during his lifetime. Composed of polyester fabric sewn with gelatin tissue and discreetly supported by stainless-steel pipes, the “Hubs” in question all join to form a corridor through which visitors may traverse places in London, Seoul, Rhode Island and Berlin, all in the space of a few meters. Although extraordinarily detailed, with sockets and door handles meticulously replicated, Suh’s reconstructions are nonetheless abstract enough to maintain their spatial anonymity. Each identified by a different color, the hubs successfully conjure up metaphorical journeys to match the artist’s vision of life “as a passageway with no fixed beginnings or destinations.”
If “Hub” doesn’t come across entirely as a surprise to those familiar with Suh’s work, the series of thread drawings exhibited on the gallery’s ground floor are a genuine novelty. Based on a process the artist developed during his residency at Creative Workshop & Gallery in Singapore, the drawings compress Suh’s architectures into two-dimensional form. After immersion in water, the polyester is pressed onto paper to produce almost skeletal compositions; the overlaps caused by folds in the material create the only color change in otherwise monochrome images. In contrast to “Hub,” the entrances to these thread drawings are walled off, converting the sculptures’ initial fragility into strong, cohesive forms, and subverting the premise of a “passage.” They reaffirm architecture as a temporal yet incisive presence in the path of life.
by Michele Robecchi