Best known for his full-size, fabric-and-steel reconstructions of his former residences in South Korea, Rhode Island, Berlin, London, and New York, Suh’s creations of physicalized memory address issues of home, displacement, individuality, and collectivity, articulated through the architecture of domestic space.
A recent gift to LACMA, 348 West 22nd Street (2011–15) replicates the artist’s ground-floor residence from a single New York building. Created in luminous swaths of translucent polyester, the dreamlike rooms and hallways are supported by a subtle stainless-steel armature. In this immersive passageway of conjoined rooms, visitors pass through an ephemeral, ghostly representation of the artist’s personal history. The corridor, stairs, apartment, and studio are each rendered in a single block of color, with fixtures and appliances replicated in exacting detail. Fusing traditional Korean sewing techniques with 3D mapping technologies, the maze-like installation of 348 West 22nd Street balances intricate construction with delicate monumentality.
Born in South Korea in 1962, Suh moved to the United States in 1991 and currently lives between New York, London, and Seoul. Inspired by his own history of migration, Suh’s ethereal, malleable architecture presents an intimate world both deeply familiar and profoundly estranged.