540 West 26th Street, Chelsea
Through July 18
BY KEN JOHNSON
Do-Ho Suh has created a wonderful blend of the mundane and the miraculous. Known for his production of architectural structures made from filmy fabrics, he has outdone himself here with a full-scale reproduction of his New York apartment. From a distance, it is a ghost house, with translucent walls, stairs, doors and kitchen and bathroom fixtures all made of sheer, slightly metallic blue, green and purple nylon. Loosely supported by thin steel rods, it hovers in the gallery like the glimmer of a Proustian memory.
To wander in through the front door, down the hallway where steps lead to a nonexistent second floor, and into the vacant studio apartment itself is transporting. Everything is realized with loving attention to detail; the valves on the radiators may droop, but they are neatly assembled and machine-stitched from carefully cut-out parts. Door hinges and the little screws holding them in place, knobs and burners on the small oven, plumbing under the bathroom sink, the toilet in all its sculptural complexity, ceiling lights and even the fire-safety sprinklers on overhead pipes in the hallway: all this and more has been translated into a dimension of magical delicacy.
It's not fanatical like Liza Lou's compulsively beaded environments. Claes Oldenburg's translation of ordinary objects into soft, erotically suggestive fabric sculptures readily comes to mind, but there is no Pop-style irony. Rather, the effect is poetically evocative — a little trip into a Zen-like state of mind. Apartment hunters should be especially appreciative.