Do-ho Suh is a Korean national from Seoul. Do-ho Suh was born in 1962 shortly after the military coup that brought Chung Hee into power in South Korea. Do-ho Suh studied oriental painting at Seoul University, and served in the South Korean armed forces. After his mandatory term of military service Do-Ho Suh moved to the United States to peruse his artistic career. Upon arriving in the United States, Do-Ho Suh received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in painting from Rhode Island school of design and than a Masters of Fine Art in sculpture from Yale.
Do-ho Suh comes from a family with an artistic tradition. His father, the artist Se Ok Suh pioneered the merging of traditional and modern Korean art. This along with his mother who was rooted deeply in Korean culture provided Do-ho Suh a unique outlook and his home and culture, despite the turbulent militaristic over tones of Korea at the time.
Do-ho Suh started college in Seoul shortly after the Gwangju massacre, which was a civil uprising by the people of South Korea against the military dictator Chun Doo Hwan. Uniforms were mandatory and this led to a sense of displacement between home and his time in school, as Do-ho Suh phrased it “leaving home to go to school everyday was a kind of displacement — I had to leave an unreal environment and enter reality.”
Much of this sense of displacement is reflected in Do-ho Suh’s work. Drawing on influences from both military and school uniforms into many of his work including his piece ‘Some/one’, a coat of Traditional Korean armor made completely out of presses dog tags. We also see his study of uniforms and there effects in the piece ‘Uni-Form/s: Self-Portrait/s: My 39 Years’, This large installation holds images of the many school uniforms of Do-ho Suh’s past but also draw them into a whole representing the similar experiences that students might have had while wearing them. Do-ho Suh also likes to experiment with the concept of personal space and the differences between Korean and American concepts of Personal space. This study of personal space can been seen most graphically in his installation called ‘Floor’, which was a section of glass plates supported by tiny plastic figures all crowded together.
Do-ho Suh strives to challenge his viewers to continual question there ideas of Personal Space, and there own identity and individuality in today’s increasingly international, globally centric society. Through his installation pieces he attempts to put a spin on many of the items and concepts we take for granted asking us to look at them in other more provocative ways, or to seek deeper truths in items we take for granted. Creative and expressive, Do-ho Suh’s work is a provocative example of how Traditional Asian concepts can combine with very western ideas into a seamless whole that can cause both amazement at the beauty of the work and at the same time stir thought provoking imagery and designs.
- Designboom . December 18th, 2007. Designboom. 3/8/2009 [http://www.designboom.com/eng/interview/dohosuh.html].
- Lehmann Maupin. 3/5/2009.Lehmann Maupin. 3/5/2009 [http://www.lehmannmaupin.com/#/artists/do-ho-suh/].
- Do-Ho Suh. 11/8/2003. David Winton Bell Gallery. 3/11/2009 [http://www.brown.edu/Facilities/David_Winton_Bell_Gallery/suh.html].
- Artkrush. 10/1/2008. Flavorpill Productions LLC. 3/5/2009 [http://www.artkrush.com/173851].
- Art:21. 3/9/2009. PBS. 3/9/2009 [http://www.pbs.org/art21/artists/suh/index.html?gclid=COvmpK3fnZkCFRwDagodLEsVUA].
- YouTube. April 08, 2008.Art:21. 3/12/2009 [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xFiJRf-cGHY].