June 27th, 2012

Suh’s most recent project is at home on UC San Diego campus

If you happen to wander upon UC SanDiego’s campus watch as you approach the Jacobs School of Engineering building; you may feel as though you’ve wandered onto the set of Wizard of Oz.


Do Ho Shu Fallen Star


Atop the building and seemingly precariously placed is Korean artist Do Ho Suh’s sculpture, Fallen Star.

It is a little blue house, with a garden, brick walkway, chairs in the front yard, tomato plants, and a plum tree. You can even go inside and visit a-while in the furnished abode. Keys and remote on the table, pictures hanging, TV, bookshelf, all work to give it a lived-in look. The chimney also releases “smoke” periodically, created by a steam generating mechanism.

The only difference from going for tea at Aunt Betty’s to visiting Fallen Star is the sculpture is ‘housed’ 100 feet from the ground, seven stories high, well … and no one lives there.


Fallen Star UC SanDiego


The house itself is built on a cantilever and angled at approximately ten degrees. The floor of the sculpture is at approximately a 5 degree angle from the rooftop on which it rests.

It’s charming, whimsical and slightly disorienting. It looks like it fell out of the sky.

“Fallen Star conforms to California earthquake building codes and was built to withstand 100 mph winds. Its foundation is 18 inches thick, compared to the usual 4 inches,” explains article 18th sculpture in UC San Diego’s Stuart Collection is both homey and disorienting on artdaily.org.


Fallen Star house on roof


When onlookers visit the house they often report feelings of vertigo and displacement. The concept is an interesting one, especially given the context of the artist’s history and piece’s location.

One of Suh’s intentions for the piece was to encourage a dialogue about home. He was born in Korea and when he first came to the United States he felt at odds with the new place he was to call home.

Again the aforementioned article on artdaily.org quoted “‘Fallen Star,’ said Mary Beebe, director of the Stuart Collection at UC San Diego, explores that feeling of displacement and the notion of home.”


Fallen Star Do Ho Shu


In addition, being located on a university campus is meaningful. Many students, especially those living in residence, arrive to a foreign place and have to adjust to their new home, new city, new lifestyle. It can all be very disorienting.

This piece is the 18th installation of site-specific sculpture at the UC SanDiego, part of the Stuart Collection.

“The Stuart Collection was developed to enhance the intellectual pursuits and cultural interests of the student body,” describes the article titled do-ho suh: fallen star now open to the public ondesignboom.com.


Do Ho Suh


As for Suh, he was born in Seoul, South Korea. He moved to the United States after
completing his Bachelor and Masters of Fine arts in Seoul. He then continued his studies at Rhode Island School of Design and then Yale.

He works out of New York as a sculptor and installation artist. He exhibits internationally, exploring themes about space, the use of space, relative perception and scale as well as social and cultural ideas.

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