Monday, March 9, 2009

Do-ho Suh

This work by Do-ho Suh depicts a large group of soldiers carrying a large, classical-style monument or mausoleum, perhaps in commemoration of a war. The scale of the soldiers has clearly been manipulated - the soldiers are tiny in comparison with the structure, while a typical human would most likely be 1/2 to 3/4 the height of the monument. The effect of this manipulation is, I think, an increased emphasis on the number of soldiers. I take the resulting message to be a commentary on the units of soldiers within the army and how they work together for a common goal. Because of the manipulation of the scale, I also see the soldiers as almost being crushed by the monument.

My resulting conclusion about the message of the piece is that the soldiers are subservient to the monument and the idea of triumphantly commemorating a war behind the monument. Perhaps the piece is a commentary on how we commemorate terrible events and wars in such a way that the gruesome and horrible things that happen are forgotten or avoided in the commemoration. I personally disagree with this practice; I think glorifying a battle or war through a triumphant, shiny monument is grossly disrespectful to the human lives lost, no matter which side.

This piece could also be a commentary on the lack of individuality and freedom within the army - each soldier is exactly the same size and shape and is in the same position doing the same action. In the army, soldiers are members of a functional unit that works and acts as an entity.

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