Artist Do Ho Suh moved from his native Korea to Providence, Rhode Island in 1991 to study at RISD. Feelings of displacement made the artist measure spaces "in order to establish relationships with his new surroundings," (from the press release). This obsessive-compulsive habit came in handy a while later when Suh used the measurements to "replicate and transport spaces" in his artwork. Home Within Home, currently on view at Lehmann Maupin, features a series of works by Suh that examine "cultural displacement and the co-existence of identities, as well as the perception of our surroundings and how one constructs a memory of a space."
Suh meticulously "constructs a memory of a space" with painstaking detail as evidenced in the centerpiece of the exhibition, Fallen Star 1/5. The dollhouse-like piece represents the artist's experience relocating from Korea to New England, which he's described like being "dropped from the sky." The work's narrative has a tornado carrying Suh and his childhood home in Korea to Rhode Island, dumping the artist, the house, and its contents onto his new home in Providence, merging the two houses and Suh's two worlds. The catastrophically remodeled, miniaturized Rhode Island home is perfectly dissected in two, as if a giant took a chainsaw to the quaint New England dwelling and hacked it in half. Viewers can easily be looky-loos and peer into the various rooms of the house. Suh spared no detail in his scaled-down dreamhouse with the unconventional addition, showing fully furnished living rooms, bedrooms, bathrooms, and kitchens with stocked refrigerators and cupboards. There are Lilliputian bicycles in hallways waiting to be ridden; band posters hanging on the walls of a teenager's messy bedroom; cleaning products waiting to be used; newspapers and catalogues strewn on coffee tables; paperwork cluttering desks; as well as the debris and wreckage caused from the Korean home's crash-landing Wizard of Oz style onto the Rhode Island house. Instead of a crushed wicked witch's stripey socks poking out from underneath, a released parachute lying flaccidly on the gallery floor provides evidence of the abode's airborne journey.
Along with fabric reproductions of random household items (a thermostat, a door knob, holiday lights, and more) around the artist's current home in New York, Suh presents the ghost-like Home within Home, another merging of his two homes -- this one a cleaner, conjoined model made of translucent resin and cut into four parts. Suh, who now divides his time between New York, London, and Seoul, presents personal works that invite viewers into his homes, revealing hints of his past and his psyche. Learn more at Lehmannmaupin.com. Through October 22nd.