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Likeness and Legacy in Korean Portraiture

Uni-Form/s: Self-Portraits/s: My 39 Years
2006, by Do Ho Suh (Korean, b. 1962)
Fabric, fiberglass, resin, stainless steel, and casters.

Courtesy of the artist and Lehmann Maupin.
Courtesy the artist and Lehmann Maupin, New York, Hong Kong, and Seoul.
Photograph © Do Ho Suh.

These ten uniforms are replicas of the artist’s own uniforms that he wore from kindergarten to his time in the military. (All Korean men are required to fulfill mandatory military service for about two years.) This work is a self-portrait of the artist, and at the same time it investigates the ways in which the societies and groups he belonged to affected or formed him. As he explains in his artist’s statement nearby, Suh has always been interested in these topics. Portraiture without face or figure is also explored in Young June Lew’s painting Cycle of Time, which is on display in this exhibition.

Suh is one of the most internationally renowned Korean artists, exploring various mediums including installations, drawings, and photography. Other major themes in his work include home, karma, “locality-versus-universality,” and the relationship between the East and the West.