An anonymous donor has gifted one of New York-based artist Do Ho Suh‘s large-scale sculptures to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). The piece, 348 West 22nd Street (2011-2015), is a full-scale fabric replica of two adjacent ground floor units in a low-rise Chelsea apartment the artist rented for nineteen years during his early career. It’s in the same vein as The Perfect Home II, another exploration of the same space that closed out a run earlier this year at the Brooklyn Museum.
Suh used translucent polyester thread, wiring, and a steel frame to recreate the features of his former apartment building in excruciating detail, down to the curvature of the bathroom tiles and the lettering on the kitchen oven. The two apartment units, shared corridor, and staircase are each rendered in vibrant blocks of color that help distinguish them as visitors look through the translucent surfaces. To create the sculpture, Suh matched digital mapping tools with traditional Korean sewing techniques over the course of four years.
The translucency and gentle sagging that many of the elements face under the weight of their materials remind the viewer that the sculpture is only a ghostly copy of the original, the full details of which are surrendered to memory loss. “The whole process,” Suh commented, “is to remember the space, and also to somehow memorialize the space.” Throughout his career, Suh has made full-scale recreations of spaces he has previously occupied in Seoul, Providence, London and New York using fabric, paper, and other fragile materials to symbolize the ephemerality of the places we build our lives.
348 West 22nd Street is now on display in the Resnick Pavilion at LACMA with no closing date set.