Do Ho Suh: Passage/s

Victoria Miro, London, until 18 March 2017.

Entrance, Unit 2, 348 West 22nd Street, New York, NY 10011, USA, 2016

Bristol’s Museum and Art Gallery had shown Do Ho Suh in 2015, I hadn’t heard of him before, and was very surprised by the exhibition. I was looking forward to seeing his work again, but anticipated it would be similar to what I had seen before. Did I necessarily need to see it again?  There are so many shows to see in London, perhaps I should go to one of the others on my long list of, try to see.

It is almost like seeing the x-rays of architecture, but not in a scientific way, more ephemeral.  We were reminded by the fleeting delicacy of this work by the gallery attendants, as we were herded through the fabric structures of brightly coloured polyester.

Do Ho Suh: Passage/s

It was intensely busy for a commercial gallery, and perhaps this work would be better suited to a permanent collection, as people want to experience it. If there is an afterlife, I am sure this is how the buildings would look. And perhaps that was the appeal, like moths to light.

Do Ho Suh: Passage/s

I was not expecting to see works on paper, and these were just as inventive as his structures.  Thread drawing, gelatine sheet embedded on STPI handmade cotton paper. These were pressed architectural details of apartment entrances which you might find squished in the middle of a book, like one does with flowers.  Much too large for a book, roughly 150 x 100 inches.

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Architectural replicas of memory, place and questions of identity. If these pieces weren’t so beautiful, you might get a better sense of displacement. Just passing through. Even the delicate structure hints at the lack of anchored structure one desires from a shelter. The steel structures themselves are very reminiscent of tenting.

Equally as beautiful and technically competent, was a drawing titled, My Homes. This showed an almost metamorphosis of three dwellings. Were they actual places in which he lived?  I am not interested to debate that actual question, but they were empty spaces, just like his fabric structures. Perhaps more reflective on time, like snake skins.

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Textile Printing

1 Dec 2016- Practical Workshop, Introduction to Textile Printing, with Andy & Duncan.

Textile printing

This workshop was in two parts, longer than the other workshops planned for us, and an optional sign up instead of required. I really did struggle deciding whether I should use this time in textiles or spend the time working in one of the other print studios expanding on some ideas I haven’t brought to life yet. I just thought that so far, there has been some really unexpected results when trying something new, and my curiosity took over. When else will I get this time to explore.

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The pace and planning did frustrate some of the other students, as they thought that perhaps too much detail was given to some elementary areas, as most people already had screenprinting experience. I on the other hand felt fine with this, and thought that this could be the one area where I might feel the most confident going back to.  But I probably have the least printmaking experience compared to the other students in my cohort, and therefore didn’t mind more information and time spent preparing to print.  Once we could roll up our sleeves and start printing, everyone thought the wait was worth it.

I was also apprehensive, as I tend to think of textile printing as being quite applied and or commercial. T-shirts and curtains come to mind. Decorative arts. Making things for people to buy. And, by-the-way, I love to buy these things, and do wish there was more of it. But do I want to make them? What about the conceptual in textiles?  I just don’t know if it is a medium for me. To use for making. I do love printed textiles, in particular Marimekko. I recently read an interview with Geoff McFetridge in Huck Magazine, who also went to the same art school as me, I guess all the successful people graduated in his year…  He offered some good advice.  He loves tennis, but he doesn’t make art about tennis. Helpful to keep that in the back of my mind, because I love many things, and it can be distracting at times to not want to incorporate it all into what I make, but we can’t do everything, and like the Hiut’s philosophy who started Hiut Denim, and only make jeans, ‘Do one thing well’.

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I do think it is interesting, so far the workshops that have been most satisfying, have been the ones I have had the lowest expectations and enthusiasm for. Enamelling and textiles. I was initially apprehensive, and wondered what on earth will I make, but we achieved results almost instantaneously, which was very appealing. Some of the printmaking processes can take so long, so it is appealing to have something to take with you at the end of the day.

We knew ahead of time that we would need to create an image to print on an A3 Folex prior to the workshop.  I rather enjoyed creating reductive scenes inspired by architecture, transport systems, and quasi-cityscapes. I had three possibilities, but had to go with one, and this is the result.

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Andy was very helpful and suggested to flip the screen for a layered effect which was fantastic advice, it made the piece much more successful.  I would like to explore textiles more. If I have a bad stretch of not producing work that I feel good about, I will head over to textiles. Colour and shape is rather jolly.  And sometimes we need that.

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