Do Ho Suh’s Fabric Installations Show That Home Is Wherever You Sew It

Published March 26, 2014
Updated September 18, 2014

Speaking to Art21.org, he said: “The experience was about transporting space from one place to the other—a way of dealing with cultural displacement. I don’t really get homesick, but I’ve noticed that I have this longing for this particular space, and I want to recreate that space or bring that space with me wherever I go.” Years before he had the money to take his vision to scale, Do Ho Suh tested the distilled idea in his studio. His inspiration grew from there, and so began the journey to pinpoint the ‘Perfect Home’.

Going on to hang his homes in the Japanese Contemporary Art Museum, in 2013 Do Ho Suh recreated a full size fabric replica of his private residence among other inspired installations. Suh’s work challenges viewers to see how one’s definition of the home evolves and is largely shaped by specific cultural contexts. Alongside the life-size silk sculptures of his own abodes, Do Ho Suh constructed cut-away sections of a modern mansion, a miniature moving house and what looks like a fabric fire escape. He even crafted cloth counterparts for the everyday appliances we might find round the home.

What makes Do Ho Suh’s works truly remarkable is the sense of community and collaboration that is woven throughout his projects. From a group of nationally treasured pensioners who taught him how to sew the intricate seams of many of his works, to his mother’s touch on finding the right fabric, Do Ho Suh draws on the strengths of those around him to create his packable palaces. The mixture of many traditional South Korean techniques with Western advancements in 3D modeling allows Suh to construct such works, proving that “home” is not lost with movement. Rather, home is whatever you make it.

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