- – What do you see?
Do-ho suh is making art based on his own experiences and culture. He is using a variety of media ranging from cloth to statuettes to metals. This is the kind of artwork you see more of today.
- – What observations can you make about the work?
Each piece has a personal connection to the artist, and you can tell this even without knowing him. Everything was placed, printed or sewn so precisely that you could see how much the artist really cared about his work. Most of the materials he had were not easily available to him (or to anyone as a matter of fact) so that what he got was very precious. You could tell that he really valued what he was doing just by the detail and placement of his artwork.
- – What does the work remind you of?
In general, his artwork reminds me of the picture book “The Arrival” by Shaun Tan that we read in 6th grade. Its about a man that leaves his family in search of something greater for himself. He goes to a foreign land and brings a few bits and bobs of his own culture with him. People end up appreciating his culture.
For some reason, the big, public statue/art that he made reminded me of Dante Alighieri’s Inferno as well as the way the social classes work in society in general. The general shape of the piece reminded me of this famous painting. At a second glance, the two look nothing alike. But the way the people stood at the bottom “carrying” the whole base reminded me a little bit about the story behind Inferno.
This piece also reminds me of a social hierarchy that we see in todays world, where the working class and the commoners all work to try and support themselves, but end up supporting a higher class. You see a lot of this in Hong Kong where there are only a few powerful people. The people at the bottom seem like they are lifting not to get squished, but really they are just carrying the platform of a person who is of higher class than them.
- – What can you share about the form, function, and/or construction?
The pieces that Do Ho Suh makes are generally quite interactive. Some allow the viewers to step on them and poke and engage with the art. This allows the viewers to connect more personally with the work and enjoy the piece in a new way.
The construction is not something that you imagine most artists doing. Normally, when you think “artist,” you think about a man/woman sitting in front of an easel and picking colours from a palette. Mr. Suh searched long and hard for his materials and took time to make each one unique. He learned different practices such as sewing and typing, something that takes lots of effort and research.
- – What is the most interesting part of the work?
The most interesting part about the work is the history behind them. Mr. Suh talks about his experience in school, in the army, and in Korea that really show you that there is a potential for art everywhere. There is a meaningful story behind everything and it is so interesting how his own life experiences could lead to art as beautiful as his.
- – What questions would you ask the artist about the work?
I would ask him how much it cost to put together. There are some materials that really make you think “wow, where did he get that?” Things like the silky materials that he used for the house project looks expensive, and the type writer that he used to imprint on each of those metal plates could not have come cheap.
- – What title would you give the work?
I would call it “group effort.” Mr. Suh had mentioned that the people supporting the class did not have pained expressions on their faces… If the people didn’t all want the support the same cause, if there was even one glimmer of doubt within the crowd, the glass would’ve fallen a long time ago.
- – Why do you think the artist chose this kind of work to create?
Do-ho Suh said that he wanted the viewer to interpret the message for him. He said it was up to the viewer. I think he chose to create interactive work like this so that the viewer could get up close and personal with the art, study it all a bit more carefully, and really build a connection with the piece.
- – How successful is the work?
I think that the work is very successful. Do-ho Suh wanted the viewers to build their own connections with the art, and the media he provided and the amount of care he put into the work made that pretty easy. Another key part of the artwork was to share a spot of Koreas culture in the New World. These pieces really make you wonder and investigate. Do-ho Suh made the viewers actually care about the message that he was sending. That’s not very easy to do.
- – What is the most impressive aspect of the work?
The obvious amount of time and energy put into each one. It takes a long time to scan people’s faces onto a laptop and superimpose them. It takes a long time to learn how to sew like they do in Korea. It really shows how much the artist cares about what he’s doing. If the artist cares, so does the audience.
- – How relevant is the work to issues in your life or society today?
Still very relevant.
In Korea, the culture is still the way it was when Do-ho Suh made the artwork. Culture like the one he was investigating doesn’t change, not even after million years.
The hierarchy I was discussing earlier with the public monument is still very relevant especially in Hong Kong. Here, we have several tycoons that controll everything. In the end, all the efforts we make all feed back to them.