Made at the STPI Creative Workshop in Singapore, the new works in this exhibition by Do Ho Suh are part of the artist’s ongoing Rubbing/Loving project, in which rubbings of interior spaces and everyday objects are created in a process that discloses and memorialises details of the artist’s surroundings.
Do Ho Suh has visited the STPI Creative Workshop several times a year over the past ten years. He is the first artist to be invited more than once to this internationally renowned resource for artists working with print and paper, and a long-term collaboration with the workshop has been instrumental in the development of his groundbreaking, large-scale thread drawings.
Focusing on objects, fixtures and fittings attached to the walls, the works in this exhibition attest to Suh’s close relationship with STPI and commemorate his time there. Light switches, door knobs, a telephone, a tap, a hairdryer hanging from a hook… created by lining objects with paper and rubbing the surface with coloured pastels, the works on display lend a quiet poetry to the quotidian while laying bare the processes, rational yet sensual, that enable the artist to determine and connect with his surroundings. Reconstructed in three dimensions, the completed works exist at the boundary of drawing and sculpture.
Touch and its repetition is a key aspect of Suh’s Rubbing/Loving works. Suh has often drawn parallels between architectural space and the body, and in these works the paper functions as an epidermis – a second or surrogate skin – that bears the impression of his own touch: pastel, applied with the fingertips in a gesture the artist describes as a ‘caress’.
For Suh, these rubbing works function as symbols of memory, and in them he documents the accumulation of time and preserves his experience of living and working within spaces of special significance. They encapsulate wider ideas in his art about home and belonging, malleable space and memory, and the boundaries of identity within a shared realm, referring to Suh’s fruitful time at STPI as well as that of the many international artists who have worked there. Contained within the works, too, are further ideas of connection, transition, movement and flow, not confined to but especially evocative in the pipework and other conduits he brings to light, ideas that acquire special resonance in the historic city of Venice.
Born in 1962 in South Korea, Do Ho Suh received a BFA in painting from the Rhode Island School of Design and a MFA in sculpture from Yale University. Do Ho Suh explores contemporary arrangements of space and the unstable boundaries of its categorisation along lines of individuality and collectivity, physicality and immateriality, mobility and fixity. Influenced by his peripatetic existence – leaving his native South Korea to study and live in the United States, he has more recently moved between New York, Seoul and London – an enduring theme of the artist’s practice is the connection between the individual and the group across global cultures.
Do Ho Suh
25 May – 7 July 2018
Victoria Miro Venice