Do Ho Suh to open at MCA Australia

MCA-Do-Ho-Suh-photo-by-Daniel-DorsaOpening exclusively in Sydney on Friday 4 November 2022, the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA Australia) will present, as part of the Sydney International Art Series 2022–23, a major new survey by internationally renowned artist Do Ho Suh.

The South Korean-born, London-based artist’s work is known for his large-scale sculptures and architectural installations, which address the often-complex relationships between the body, memory and space.

Do Ho Suh at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia is a major survey spanning three decades, from the 1990s to the present, and represents one of the artist’s most comprehensive projects to date.

The exhibition is Suh’s first solo exhibition in the Southern Hemisphere and will present emblematic works across a wide range of media that include large-scale installations, sculptures, drawings, printmaking, models, and video works.

Do Ho Suh’s extensive body of work is characterised by an ongoing meditation on notions of belonging, identity and home. Encompassing portraiture and architectural references, Suh’s works have a distinctive biographical dimension in their evocation of the artist’s childhood and schooling in South Korea, the family home in which he grew up, and his relocation to New York, Berlin and London and the various spaces he has lived in as an adult.

Diasporic experience and the space between different cultures and histories is a recurrent refrain within the works, which situate the home at the centre of our shared physical and psychological experience.

Scale is central to Suh’s artworks, which vary from small, singular household objects – door handles, plugs and switches, light bulbs – through to full scale replicas of the domestic spaces and studios he has inhabited over the course of his life. Realised in diverse materials, from steel military ‘dog tags’ to fabric, these intimate and evocative artworks can be walked around, through and within.

The exhibition brings together significant loans from public and private collections, alongside a major new sculptural work. The exhibition is curated by guest curator Rachel Kent, Chief Executive Officer, Bundanon Trust NSW, with MCA Associate Curator Megan Robson.

“Do Ho Suh’s evocative artworks sit at the intersection of memory, place and diasporic experience. Reflecting his own life journey, and the spaces he has inhabited from Seoul to New York to London, they gently map a wider communal experience,” said Guest curator Rachel Kent.

If the body is a vessel and the home (or artist’s studio) is its container, Suh’s works suggest the traces of a thousand lives lived, with points of intersection and divergence interwoven through.”

Encompassing translucent fabric, thread and rubbings on paper, as well as other, more enduring materials, Suh’s works sit between the collective and the individual – reminding us of our shared humanity, and equally, the fine balance between inner and outer worlds,” said Kent.

“Do Ho Suh has been an indelible and eloquent presence for contemporary art for over three decades. His work speaks to who we are as individuals and as part of the different collective situations that constitute society,” said Suzanne Cotter, Museum of Contemporary Art Australia Director.

“The MCA is thrilled to present his powerful and engaging art at such a significant scale to Australia and to offer the opportunity to experience his work to our many publics.”

Do-Ho-Suh-Staircase-III-2010-installation-view-Museum-Voorlinden-Wassenaar-2019Exhibition highlights include the inaugural presentation of Do Ho Suh’s Rubbing/Loving Project: Seoul Home (2013–2022). In this ambitious project the artist has rendered the exterior of his parents’ home in Seoul, a traditional Korean hanok house with its characteristic tiled, curved roof, through a series of paper rubbings. The artist’s childhood home will be reconstructed at full scale in the Museum’s Level 1 North gallery.

A major display of the artist’s Hub series will also be presented at the MCA Australia. Gallery visitors will be able to walk around and through a series of brightly coloured, interconnecting fabric structures that replicate transitional spaces such as corridors, entry ways and foyers.

Another exhibition highlight is Staircase-III (2010) from the Tate Collection. Recreated to scale, the handstitched fabric staircase suggests the passage of time and is symbolic of the link and connective tissue between different spaces and cultures, the world over.

Floor (1997-2000) and Who Am We? (Multicoloured) (2000) will be presented together in one of the MCA Australia’s largest galleries. The vast floor-based installation, Floor, features thousands of tiny, sculpted figures.

With arms upraised, they collectively support transparent glass plates over which visitors walk. Wrapping around the gallery walls, Who Am We? (Multicoloured) is a custom wallpaper printed with multiple tiny portraits, their individuality evident only on close inspection.

Do Ho Suh’s key work Metal Jacket (1992–2001) comprises stainless-steel military identification tags overlain like roof shingles or fish scales, one upon the next, into a Hanbok robe with outstretched arms. Recalling the artist’s experience of conscription in South Korea, the tags themselves suggest the individuality of the countless servicemen and women they are named after.

“It is hugely exciting for me to be exhibiting this body of work at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia,” said Artist Do Ho Suh. “The exhibition traces the journey of my practice over multiple decades, and it is a privilege to be inhabiting MCA’s beautiful galleries, and to be showing in Australia.”

“Much of my work is taken up with the idea of how we clothe our movements through the world – through time (linear and non-linear) and place. I’m interested in survival techniques, the spaces we carry within, as well as those we occupy externally.”

“I hope the exhibition will strike a chord at a time when we have all been forced to consider the boundaries and strictures of different spaces anew,” said Suh.

Do Ho Suh 
Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, 140 George Street, The Rocks (Sydney)
Exhibition: 4 November 2022 – 26 February 2023
Entry fees apply

For more information, visit: for details.

Images: Do Ho Suh – photo by Daniel Dorsa | Do Ho Suh, Staircase-III, 2010, installation view, Museum Voorlinden, Wassenaar, 2019, polyester fabric, stainless steel, Tate: Purchased with funds provided by the Asia Pacific Acquisitions Committee 2011, image courtesy the artist, Museum Voorlinden, Wassenaar, Lehmann Maupin Gallery, New York, Hong Kong, Seoul and London, and Victoria Miro, London and Venice, © the artist, photograph: Antoine van Kaam