From the Catalogue:
"I have to say that my work actually started from my interest in the notion of space, particularly this notion of personal space or individual space. And that’s actually the result of contemplation on the idea of how much space one person can carry."
- Do Ho Suh, Art21, 2003
Created to resemble a welcome doormat typically placed by the entrance of a person’s home, Do Ho Suh’s Doormat: Welcome (Amber) immediately conjures the image of the quintessentially American suburban home, symbolic of one’s achievement of the idealistic American Dream. With its recognisable amber colouring and iconic black script font, the present lot humours the viewer by re-positioning one of the most commonplace household items in the context of high art. A closer look, however, reveals that the mat is comprised of countless translucent nodules crafted in the shape of simplistic human figures all positioned with their arms facing upwards ready to bear and displace weight. Interested in the plasticity of the concept of space, Suh, WSJ Magazine’s 2013 Innovator of the Year in Art, constructs sculptures and site-specific installation works that question the boundaries of identity.
Exploring the fine line between strength in numbers and homogeneity, Suh often looks back to his earlier life in Seoul in his artistic practice. In many of his works, he contemplates the uniform; both literally, as the mandatory uniform he wore as a student in school and as a soldier in the military, as well as figuratively, as all male Korean students are required to shave their head upon entering middle school, relinquishing a part of their individual expression. Executed at around the same time as the present lot, Floor is an installation commissioned for and currently on view at the Indianapolis Museum of Art that also features a concentrated assemblage of miniature figures; positioned in this case to support an expansive platform covered with thick glass plates inviting viewers to walk on the work. In the context of both Floor and Doormat: Welcome (Amber), Suh engages with the tensions between collective action and individual identity.
“In an age of exponentially increasing globalisation, Suh's consideration of what it means to belong strikes a nerve. His almost uncanny ability to hit these major touchstones of our time—and to do it with the lyricism of a poet—has made him one of the most internationally in-demand artists of his generation” (Julie Belcove, The Wall Street Journal, 2013). Among the many prominent entries in his exhibition history, Do Ho Suh represented Korea at the Venice Biennale in 2001. His work can also be found in numerous important museum collections worldwide including a smaller example of the present lot in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York.
—Courtesy of Phillips
Signature: signed and dated 'JIGGER 15' lower right
Matthias Arndt ed., Jigger Cruz: The Rising Superstar on the Philippine Arts Scene, Distanz Publishing House, Berlin, 2015, p. 9 (illustrated)
ARNDT Fine Art, Singapore & Berlin
Private Collection, USA