On Monday 24 September, an ambitious new installation by Korean artist Do Ho Suh (b.1962, South Korea) will be unveiled on a footbridge above Wormwood Street – one of the busiest roads in the City of London, near Liverpool Street Station.
Invited by Art Night and Sculpture in the City to respond to the migrant history of the East End and the City of London, Suh has created Bridging Home, London, a replica of a traditional Korean house, his childhood home, and surrounding bamboo garden, which will appear to have ‘fallen’ onto the Wormwood Street footbridge.
Suh’s first large-scale outdoor installation in the capital, Bridging Home, London reflects the artist’s own experience of moving across continents and between cultures, and continues his career-long investigation of memory, migration, the multiplicity of the immigrant experience, and home as both a physical structure and a lived experience.
Inspired by his peripatetic life, Suh often focuses on transitory or connecting spaces – corridors, staircases, bridges, gateways – thinking of them as linking zones through which the body travels, physically and metaphorically, across continents and between cultures. Located between tall buildings, Bridging Home, London is at once an alien structure: an apparently traditional wooden building amid the glass and steel architecture of the City of London; a humble domestic structure in the business heart of the capital; a private space in the public realm. Yet, it asks questions of all of us: about how the built environment shapes our relationships to both the public and private spheres, what it means to belong, and how we carry an idea of home with us, regardless of geographic location.
‘It is hugely rewarding to create a public work in London, my adopted home. For me, a building is more than just space. It is not only physical but also metaphorical and psychological. In my work I want to draw out these intangible qualities of energy, history, life and memory. While Bridging Home, London comes from personal experience, I hope it is something a lot of people can relate to.’ — Do Ho Suh
“Do Ho Suh’s Bridging Home, London is an ambitious commission, one of his most significant in the United Kingdom to date. A traditional Korean home finds ground on a bridge located in one of London’s busiest streets, in the centre of high rises and reflective surfaces. This unexpected apparition triggers a hiatus and a detournement, taking passer-bys to lands far away. Most importantly the piece activates feelings of home, belonging and remembrance that will resonate with viewers on their individual journeys.” — Fatoş Üstek, Curator
“We’re immensely proud to see Do Ho Suh’s exceptional public artwork, Bridging Home, London come to life after nearly two years of work. Bridging Home, London will transform a special, unusual space—a public footbridge—in the hustle and bustle of the City of London, and we look forward to seeing the artwork engaged with by the many visitors, residents and commuters in the area. This commission with Sculpture in the City is a continuity and legacy of our work at Art Night, London’s largest free contemporary arts festival, which activates unique sites around the city with ambitious, public artworks throughout the year.” — Ksenia Zemtsova and Philippine Nguyen, Founders of Art Night
“We are delighted to be able to host Do Ho Suh’s Bridging Home, London within the City of London as part of this year’s Sculpture in the City programme. With more artists taking part than ever before, Do Ho Suh’s work marks the final installation for this eighth edition of the programme, which sees an extremely high calibre of international established and emerging artists exhibit in this historic site. The City is proud to collaborate with Art Night to enable this ambitious work by Do Ho Suh to be seen for free by residents and visitors to the Square Mile. This forms an integral part of the City of London and Sculpture in the City’s ongoing commitment to promote the arts and culture in the City.” — Graham Packham, Chairman, City of London Corporation’s Culture, Heritage and Libraries Committee
Co-commissioned by Art Night and Sculpture in the City, and curated by Fatoş Üstek, Bridging Home, London (2018) will be installed from September 2018 for a minimum of six months and is part of Art Night’s Legacy programme – a series of co-commissions, acquisitions for public collections and longer-term projects beyond the festival itself. It forms part of the eighth edition of Sculpture in the City, the internationally renowned urban sculpture park which also showcases another 18 artists and is currently on view in the City of London’s Square Mile.
This commission follows on from Do Ho Suh’s participation in Art Night 2017, which consisted of a video installation in Christ Church Spitalfields showing Passage/s (2015) and My Home/s (2016).
This commission is kindly supported by Arts Council Korea and Arts Council England Joint Fund, the City of London Corporation, the Korean Culture Centre UK, Phillips, Saja Foundation x Outset, Savills, Simmons & Simmons. The Garden was designed in collaboration with HOK with the participation of Blooming Artificial.