Sunday 27 March 2011

Do Ho Suh's Staircase III and Duchamp split page exercise


  Staircase, Do Ho Suh

This is a a fascinating film about the Korean artist Do Ho Suh's Staircase III, just opened at Tate Modern, with Suh explaining how and why he made it. We'll be working underneath it tomorrow, for the fifth week of my Poetry from Art course, and I'm sure it will take me a while to fully absorb the strangeness of this red transparent nylon stairway hovering at ceiling height. It is an exact replica of the staircase in an apartment Suh once lived in, and he says how it took him six years to get to know his landlord well enough to take the precise measurements of the original stairs to recreate this 'memory'. 

But first I've asked the group to bring in their poems based on last week's session, when they responded to Marcel Duchamp's The Large Glass. I gave them a 'split page' exercise, with excerpts of Octavio Paz's description of the sculpture, which includes the bizarre notes Duchamp made to describe the Bride and her nine Bachelors, on the right hand side of each page. Everyone had to write their own love story or relationship story very fast on the left hand side. We then cut down the centre of the pages and jiggled the personal stories against notes from Duchamp's The Large Glass aka The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even, and hunted for any resonant lines that materialised from the juxtaposition of the personal and the given phrases. I've already read some of the resulting poems as I'm now rush-editing our online anthology. I'm hoping the online publication will be published on the Tate website by the end of the course next week, if I can edit it by Wednesday and Tate can display it in time. As soon as it's up I'll post a link.