October 9, 2011
Do Ho Suh’s Amazing Giant Doll’s House Installation Art
By Tom Hawking
In today’s ever more globalized world, the immigrant experience is a recurrent theme in art, but we doubt anyone’s ever represented it quite as dramatically as ex-pat Korean sculptor Do Ho Suh does in his new NYC exhibition Home Within Home, which is on at the moment at Lehmann Maupin Gallery in Chelsea. The centrepiece of the exhibition is Fallen Star 1/5, a huge and remarkably accurate scale model of an apartment block that’s been bisected and then swung apart on invisible hinges. The attention to detail is pretty amazing — it’s like a giant doll’s house, with bookshelves, sofas and at least one refrigerator all sliced right down the middle, with the two halves displayed on each side of the building. You can stand for ages marveling at the amount of effort this must have required. And then you walk around behind the building and find that a similar scale model of Suh’s childhood home in Korea seems to have parachuted in from the heavens and demolished most of the apartment block’s rear. The symbolism of cultural displacement is writ large, and heightened by the other piece in the exhibition, a ghostly hybrid of Suh’s old home and his new one, melded together and rendered in strange photosensitive resin.