Do-Ho-Suh's Fallen Star rises in San Diego

The South Korean sculptor known for silk replicas of his childhood homes takes to the roof for new project
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Do-Ho Suh, Fallen Star
Do-Ho Suh, Fallen Star

You may have come across the work of Do-Ho Suh without realising it. He's the Korean artist who created a miniature version of his childhood home crashing into the side of an apartment building. It toured extensively a few years back. A lot of his work revolves around the meaning of home. He was born in 1962, soon after a major military coup in South Korea. After moving to the United States to pursue his artistic career, he became fascinated with the issues of cultural, physical and architectural displacement. “It could be said that home started to exist for me once I no longer had it”, he says.

Do-Ho Suh, Fallen Star
Do-Ho Suh, Fallen Star

Suh’s silk replicas of his past and present homes emerged from the artist’s desire to create without using material. Although intended to be very vague memories, the sculptures are meticulously detailed with transparent door handles, buzzers, tenant notices and radiators, The Perfect Home II (2003) being a 1:1 replica of Suh’s New York apartment.

His latest creation Fallen Star 1/5  takes the concept to its logical conclusion. It's a sky blue New England cottage house stuck into the side of Jacob's Hall at the University of San Diego. "The slope of the floor is only five degrees, which is not that much," Suh says, though most visitors apparently tend to grip the door frame as they enter.

Do-Ho Suh, Home Within Home
Do-Ho Suh, Home Within Home

"Everything you see is something you're familiar with from your own home or your parents' home or your grandparents' home. You physically experience this instability while you're surrounded by elements you're so comfortable with. I think this actually helps the audience start to think about their surroundings."

Do-Ho Suh, Reflection, The Perfect Home II
Do-Ho Suh, Reflection, The Perfect Home II

It took "Fallen Star" seven years to realise. When Suh first developed the proposal, he was interested in designing something on the cliffs nearby, interested by their emotional proximity to Korea, separated only by the Pacific Ocean. He shifted his attention to a site on campus, but "it never left me, the idea of a house dangling, holding onto the cliff." Do Ho Suh’s Fallen Star is the 18th permanent sculpture commissioned by UCSD’s Stuart Collection


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