Lot 1074
  • 1074

Suh Do-Ho

2,000,000 - 3,000,000 HKD
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  • Suh Do-Ho
  • Cause and Effect
  • executed in 2007, this work is number one from an edition of three
  • cable, monofilamen, acrylic, aluminum disc, stainless steel


Lehmann Maupin, New York
Acquired by the present owner from the above


Japan, Tokyo, Mori Art Museum, MAM Collection 002: Existence and Space – Suh Do Ho + Po Po, 25 July - 2 October 2015 (alternate edition exhibited)

Catalogue Note

The Dance of the Multitude
Suh Do-Ho

A tiny plastic figure is very fragile, but a huge number together have a significant weight. It's a collective power. In my work I explore precisely that ambiguity of the 'herd': the sense of protection and strength on the one hand, the loss of individuality on the other. [...] In Korea we refer to men as grains of sand, which is a far cry from humanistic philosophical vision. – Suh Do-Ho1

The sheer scale of repetitive detail and formal accumulation in Suh Do-Ho's work is instantly striking and ethereal. The current lot Cause & Effect (Lot 1074) is made up of thousands of identical tiny figurines hoisted atop each other's shoulders, swirling round and down towards a single figure at the bottom. Delicately translucent, exquisitely refracting light and color, the stunning horde of 5.5-inch tall acrylic resin men hang on a dense composition of cables attached to a stainless steel plate, together forming a resplendent chandelier-shaped mass resembling a powerful tornado and reaching an approximate height of 3 meters and stretching 1.2 meters across.

While the individual faces and detail are insignificant on their own, the amassed collective overwhelms the viewer with an uncanny weight and force beyond mere strength in numbers. Suh's work explores the complex dialectic between the individual and the collective, investigating the precarious status of personal identity in the broader context of cultural, social, economic and political life. The current lot in particular, featuring a lone figurine at the base of the inverted cone bearing the infinite weight of an endless succession of bodies, evokes the influence of generations on a single individual. When viewing the work one questions the myth of individualism: with centuries of ghostly ancestors piggybacked on his shoulders, can he break away from the fate of his lineage, or are his shoulders forever chained to feet of his forefathers?

In a powerfully visual investigation of identity, the current lot activates subtle dialogues around space and human relationships. Rendering destiny metaphorically, Suh's work is a physical realization of existence that is simultaneously optimistic and pessimistic. On the one hand, the renunciation of individualism resonates with traditional Korean/Eastern values, exalting self-sacrifice as a prime virtue; on the other, the virtuous submission represents strength of the masses, presenting a subtle and shrewd commentary on dominant power structures of contemporary society. The ambiguity is alluring, marked by simultaneous grandeur and pathos; as Miwon Kwon writes: "all those people locked into one another, sustaining their collectivity, but for the mere purpose of resisting being crushed".2 The iconic installation has been shown in several venues from Seoul to New York.

1 "Interview with Priya Malhotra", Tema Celeste, 2001
Do-Ho Suh, Serpentine Galleries and Seattle Art Museum, 2002,  pg 17