Floor is a sculptural installation commissioned for the IMA contemporary collection. The piece is scaled to fit in this gallery in a grid of 32 individual squares. Upon entering the gallery, viewers are invited to step up onto an expansive platform covered with thick glass plates.
Beneath the glass platform, small specks of color are visible. On closer examination, these are revealed to be the small palms of figures assembled below the floor. Hundreds of multicolored men and women crowd together with heads upturned and arms aloft. The collective strength of this Lilliputian group supports the weight of individual visitors who step up onto the floor grid.
Floor demonstrates many characteristic elements of Do-Ho Suh’s broader body of work. The artist uses installations to integrate his artwork with the architecture of a gallery or public space. He has engaged the tensions between collective action and individual identity in other pieces, using his miniature figures to support a heavy stone pedestal or to form a tremendous screen with their interlocking bodies. With residences in Seoul, Korea and New York City, the artist also has considered ideas of “home” or displacement in his works, including reconstructing 1:1 scale models of his apartment out of nylon in gallery spaces. Do-Ho Suh uses Floor’s subtle occupation of this gallery, and scale displacement, to present a cross-cultural exploration of personal and communal space.