Bristol was lucky enough to have Do Ho Suh’s New York City Apartment dumped right on its doorstep when the travel-lite construction was hung in Bristols’ museum and art gallery at the top of Park Street. The ground floor corridor and staircase leading upwards is made from see-through cloth and the installation fills the space, making the most of the high ceilings. You are invited to step inside the piece one by one, and walk along the corridor, but not obviously, up the delicate stairs.
As you are passing through the hazy translucent fabric hallway you get a sense of dual-being, partly transported to this NYC apartment, but still aware of your actual surroundings; which become apparent as your vision jumps from focusing in on the intricate stitching of the light switch in the New York City hallway, to the room beyond with the museum attendant attentively observing you.
These fabric constructions are as flexible and as portable as a suitcase full of clothes, and sometimes are combined with each other, like you might pair a jacket & some trainers. A great example of the installation evolving within its’ environment can be seen in Suh’s ‘Perfect Home’ installation, a multi-layered hanging (pictured below).
I would like to see this piece taken off-road, out of the gallery setting, and using our unique citys environment. To see Suh’s ghost staircase hung in the iconic, dishevelled Carriageworks building on Stokes Croft would be intriguing. The fragile floating memory of a NYC apartment alongside the invitingly exposed stairway of the abandoned building.
Do Ho Suh is clearly influenced by his cultural surroundings, having been brought-up in South Korea and later moving to the States. His work often focuses on displacement, anonymity in a crowd, and the non-permanence of a space / the changing environment.