Recently, I took a little trip to the Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery to have a look at their current temporary exhibition. I didn't know quite what to expect, but decided to check it out; and how pleasantly surprised I was.
The exhibition is entitled New York City Apartment, and what is currently on display here in Bristol is actually only part of the full piece, a life-size replica of the artist, Do Ho Suh's West 22nd Street apartment. Here's where it gets cool: it's all made out of netting material. The room on display in Bristol is the ground floor corridor. What is charming about this piece is the fact that you can walk through it, and that every time you do, the seemingly simple, minimalist piece comes to life as you discover more and more minute architectural details. The banisters of the stairs are only the beginning: look closer and you'll discover light switches and fire sprinklers, water piping and a thermostat, painstakingly embroidered into the netting. Even the door hinges are made of fabric, supported by thin wire. The craftsmanship in this corridor is truly fascinating, and it is essential to walk through several times, for with each walk, more details reveal themselves.
The artist, Do Ho Suh, grew up in South Korea, and came to the United States to study painting. He has lived in the US since, and his experience of living in a foreign culture, and the effect of cultural displacement inspires him to create art that reflects the gap between the physical, and the internal ideas of home. 'Each time I left home, I entered an entirely different world.', says the artist, 'My desire to guard and carry around my own intimate space makes me perceive space as infinitely moveable. [...] Space for me becomes intrinsically transportable and translatable.' As an expat both in my hometown of Prague, and Bristol, where I am studying, I can relate to the overwhelming desire to have a space that is mine and mine alone, and a place that I can call 'home', even if I am a foreigner in the city that it is in. The unusual material of Do Ho Suh's installation reflects that need for a transportable personal home, and the fragility of that space.
My name is Emilie. I live between Bristol and Prague, travel, drink coffee and explore as much as I can.