Korean artist Do Ho Suh utilizes a unique form of artistry involving the removal of his fingerprints in order to create cerebral and cleansed spaces

Korean sculptor and installation artist Do Ho Suh has made headlines for his papered-over home interiors and unique medium of ‘ritual rubbing.' As he explains it, the act is a form of physical rubbing used to hold onto something while simultaneously working to let it go.

Last summer, the artist papered over much of the interior of a four-story-high New York townhouse—where he occupied the basement home for some 20 years—using thin, colorless paper stuck down with gentle glue. Then, the artist coated his fingers in pastel color and rubbed the walls, “caressing them” he explains, choosing different colors for different rooms.

Suh originally moved into the 500 square-feet Chelsea, New York basement just after completing his MFA at Yale. The home is now up for sale by the owners driving Suh to relocate to a new spaced. Used as not only an affordable home and studio space for the artist for many years, he felt drawn to honor the place where much cathartic and creative expression took place.

Rubbing his hands over each wall until all surfaces were covered with the chosen tones, Suh rubbed away his fingerprints in the creative process.

“I was trying to hold onto something but it was also a ritual to let things go,” he said to Wallpaper Magazine. “Memories were triggered by the recovery of small textures or details that I had completely forgotten. Through the rubbing they resurfaced so I lived that time very intensively. And then I came out of it. It was like shedding skin and now I feel like I have been granted another body.”

The ritual rubbings are now carefully numbered and housed in Suh's new studio located in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. He has plans to mount the rubbings on wooden panels and create a scale model of the house.

With good reason, we can assume The Rubbing/Loving Project as the artist calls it, will be a piece that defines his career. However, the piece holds even wider-reaching emotional implications for the artist than just that. “It became almost like a spiritual quest,” he explained. “It was not about my career, it was about commemorating my time there.”

Do Ho Suh

Korean sculptor and installation artist Do Ho Suh has made headlines for his papered-over home interiors and unique medium of ‘ritual rubbing.' As he explains it, the act is a form of physical rubbing used to hold onto something while simultaneously working to let it go.

Last summer, the artist papered over much of the interior of a four-story-high New York townhouse—where he occupied the basement home for some 20 years—using thin, colorless paper stuck down with gentle glue. Then, the artist coated his fingers in pastel color and rubbed the walls, “caressing them” he explains, choosing different colors for different rooms.