Unit 5: Critique on Work of Do Ho Suh

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Describe it:

  • What do you see?

A chainmail armour or coat that seems to be hanging in mid air.

  • What observations can you make about the work?

The inside is made so that there is a hallow structure supporting the art piece, but the inside of the hallow structure is lined with mirrors to make it seem like it’s not there. And the chainmail extends all the way out the door.

Relate it:

  • What does the work remind you of?

One of those Chinese warrior’s armour, when they’re all draped in metal and fancy coats. Kind of like a war dress/coat.

Analyze it:

  • What can you share about the form, function, and/or construction?

If this coat was real, then the function would to serve war, while the form a cross, but with the top cut off. If you look at this other artwork by Do Ho Suh, you can see the style Do Ho Suh has. He often does coats, without the heads, and makes it look really formal and orderly. I can also see that the coat has a dragon scale pattern, or a fish scale pattern. The coat’s pattern also might resemble crocodile leather, on which both material, the dragon scale and crocodile leather are both very tough material and hard to penetrate. This might symbolise that Do Ho Suh wanted the coat to look like a armour that couldn’t be penetrated. The colour, shiny silver, also might symbolise that this coat is meant for someone with high status or honour.

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  • What is the most interesting part of the work?

I think the way that Do Ho Suh made the inside look invisible was the most interesting. Putting mirrors inside the coat and having the lighting shine on the surface of the coat makes the coat look very majestic. Also, the fact that the mirrors make the inside not that obvious, it adds the element of creepiness since when when someone briefly glances at it, it looks like a floating coat.

  • What questions would you ask the artist about the work?

Why did you spread out the coat so much? Why did you cut off the head part? What inspired you to create this artwork?

 

Interpret it:

  • What title would you give the work?

Ghost’s Armour.

  • Why do you think the artist chose this kind of work to create?

Maybe because he comes from Korea, where North Korea is suffering from communism. These strict uniforms and the serious mood might represent Do Ho Suh’s feelings toward Korea. He also might have chose to do this work because he wanted to raise awareness about North Korea’s communism, or maybe even the entire Korea’s culture.

Evaluate it:

  • How successful is the work?

If success means impressive, then yes, this was very impressive. If success means sold for a lot of money, then I’m not quite sure if this artwork is even for sale.

  • What is the most impressive aspect of the work?

How he made the inside invisible, and how steady and consistent the pattern looked. Maybe even how he supported the structure of the coat.

  • How relevant is the work to issues in your life or society today?

Well, this armour might represent how in life, we always have to protect ourselves, whether physically or socially. But there should be a gap in this armour where our loved ones are, how we trust them and give them all we have. On the other hand, the mirrors on the interior might represent that we have to constantly reflect on ourselves, see what errors we have, fix them, and not just focus on other people. Lastly, the everlasting pattern of scales/alligator leather might represent that life has consistent times, where all you have to do is training, practicing and boring text book reading. But that is for the better good, to protect yourself like the pattern is imprinted on the armour that we all must wear.

 

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