FWM Artist-in-Residence Do-Ho Suh discusses his work, his collaboration with FWM and his self-titled exhibition Do-Ho Suh on view at The Fabric Workshop and Museum from 18 June through 17 September 2005.
Throughout his career, Suh has explored issues of personal and cultural identity, displacement, individuality, and transience. The paratrooper series marks a continuation of Suh's interest in the increasingly transient nature of a global culture and in his personal reflections on the experiences of landing in a foreign culture. Through repetition of individual forms, the artist makes reference to the complex relationship of the individual to the collective as the seemingly anonymous mass of figures literally supports the individual.
From June 18 through September 17, 2005, FWM presented Suh's most recent works, including Paratrooper II (2005), made in collaboration with FWM, Paratrooper V (2005), and Screen (2004), a site-based installation of stacked miniature figurines resembling those in one of Suh's most well-known works, Floor (1997-2000). As an artist-in-residence at FWM, Suh worked with staff to develop a new process of knitting nylon monofilament to create Paratrooper II (2005), the second in a series of sculptures based on the theme of the paratrooper and the latest work by an artist-in-residence to be added to FWM's permanent museum collection.
For this exhibition, FWM partnered with The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. From June 18 through August 21, 2005, Suh's Paratrooper II, made in collaboration with FWM, was exhibited in the Morris Gallery, devoted to contemporary art.
To create Paratrooper II, FWM Project Coordinator Doina Adam assisted Suh in developing a new process of knitting monofilament that enabled the material to be stretched in various directions and molded to the specifications of the paratrooper. The polyester organza blouses composing the parachute were sewed by Abby Lutz, project construction technician, and Nami Yamamoto, printer/studio assistant. Paratrooper II hangs from the gallery ceiling supported by a parachute formed of 200 semi-transparent, polyester organza figures, enveloping visitors in a fabric environment. The life-size human paratrooper, created by knitting colored resin-coated nylon monofilament, is attached to its parachute by strings of monofilament woven directly into the fabric of the paratrooper.