Do Ho Suh @ Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art

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The current special exhibit at the Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art is a definite must see! The artworks on display are by Do Ho Suh, which showcase a very powerful art. What you will see are recreated cloth structures of Korean hanoks and American apartments. You not just get to look up close at these works, but also experience them as if they were the real thing.

The Leeum museum is one of those more serious ones amongst Seoul, meaning they have a lot of security. In my last visit I was almost tackled by security for having my camera out. This time was no different, except the item of choice were my bags. You can't carry any sort of bag (of any shape) into the special exhibit, but thankfully cameras were allowed.

You walk down this hallway with the Korean gate hanging off of the ceiling, which gives you a precedent for what is to come. Then as you move down the escalator your senses are awakened as you see these "home" structures placed about the gallery space.

The title of these works are "Home within Home" and they are a response to his feeling of living in another culture and the adjustments one go through of making it your home. As an expat I can relate to this feeling of struggling to accept new surroundings.

While works like these grow out of the artist’s private experiences of cultural collision, they also symbolize more broadly the experience of the contemporary being, who constantly experiences clashes arising from individual, cultural, and regional “differences” and struggles to adapt to them.
You especially feel a sense of trying to blend the new culture with the one from home, when you start to peer through the sheer cloth.

Overall, you are mostly captivated by the technique and structure of the works and find yourself admiring the small details. As seen in this reproduction of an New York apartment front.

Some of the structures allow you to walk through them, although photography was not permitted. When walking through you definitely get a feeling for the inside-out, and again find yourself amazed at how things like toilet handles and light switches were stitched in.

All together, this part of the show has you looking up and down and admiring the concept and craftsmanship of this artist.

The second part of the exhibit is upstairs and showcases his sketch work, and a large dioramic view of his work Fallen Star 1/5, where a hanok house falls into that of an American apartment and the details of the crash are explicit.

This piece was definitely the center of attention and there wasn't one guest, during my visit, that didn't spend a good amount of time looking this over. It becomes more than just a model representation of the idea of a home within a home.

Also arranged on this floor are drawings and sketches that relate to his work on the home series. And around the corner is a video installation, bringing the concept into a visual and audible realm.

The video installation has a cloth structure placed in the center and onto it is projected video and animation, in a rhythmic and poetic fashion. The best part was when people walked through the center. I captured video of this and hope to put it up.

After exiting the exhibit I felt a clear sense of an artist understanding the value of home and what it feels like to live far away from it. Certainly, I left feeling inspired.

The Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art is located nearby Hangangjin station. Get out exit 1 and follow the signs, while taking a right and going up a hill. You'll notice your in the right place if you see these sculptures by, Louise Bourgeois.


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