The talented photographer Penelope Lisi reviews the ongoing Do Ho Suh’s exhibition “Passage/s” at the Victoria Miro Gallery.
Until the 18th of March
Last week I finally visited the much-talked about Do Ho Suh’s Passage/s at Victoria Miro Gallery.
I needed to see with my own eyes the reason of the insane success of this exhibition.
I knew that the South Korean Artist has been working and reflecting on the idea of home-space for long time and I was curious to see how he materialized his thoughts into this gallery space.
So I walked in the gallery with very high expectations, with my camera ready and hungry to shoot.
The first room introduces you to Suh’s world, displaying large-scale experimental “drawings”, made of colored gelatin tissue and threads, forming the skeleton of the images appearing on cotton paper. The result is a room with walls covered by huge colorful panels representing architectural details familiar to the artist, mainly entrances and doors. Apart from one, my favorite: Staircase.
This extraordinary piece represents a shiny red spiral staircase that twists and turns, ending in nothingness, interrupted. The staircase attracted me because of its close resemblance with a contorted human body, reminding me of the close connection between the different spaces we inhabit: the home and the body. The strong feeling I had while looking at this red striking artwork made me feel very close to the artist’s mind and made me understand his purpose. This is what I think art should aim to.
After this first great start, I continued to the second part of the exhibition. In the biggest room of the Gallery II stand the one-to-one scale Hub, London Apartment, fabric architectural structures, materialization of the shapes and places that left a mark in Suh’s life: in this case part of his London house, combined with his childhood home in South Korea and other relevant spaces throughout his life. The stunning installation stages transitory passages, connection spaces in between places, shifting from a representation of the artist’s own private experience to a more global reflection on movement and transition between countries and cultures. The semi-transparent materials which the walls of the Hubs are made of communicates an evident blurring of the line between private and public, but also between reality and imagination, almost suggesting a dream atmosphere.
“I see life as a passageway, with no fixed beginning or destination. We tend to focus on the destination all the time and forget about the in-between spaces”, Suh said.
And maybe it’s because I feel my experience to be close to that of the artist, always passing through, almost floating, crossing confines between one culture and another in search for a destination, that I was so touched by Suh’s work. I think that the artist’s way of expressing the feeling of the “in-between”, of the passage from a place to another without engaging with the transitory space, is incredibly strong and direct.
I strongly suggest visiting this exhibition to anyone who sees and experiences London as a transitory place, a passage between two cultures, two countries, two stages of life. Visit it to linger in a space between the real and imagined, past and present, fixed and fluid and to be totally amused.
Should I go?
So, as Penelope suggests, don’t wast time and go to visit this extraordinary South Korean artist until it is on!