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b. 1975, Vietnam

Danh Vo Biography

Combining personal histories with colonial narratives, Danish-Vietnamese artist Danh Vo examines issues of authorship, authority, and questions of identity and belonging.

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Born in 1975 in Ba Ria, Vo fled Vietnam at the end of the American Vietnam War. His family's journey to Europe in a home-made boat, and serendipitous rescue by a Danish freighter, are reflected in the elements of chance and encounter that occur throughout his practice. Documents, photographs, and found objects are mined for their discrepancies between reality and mythology, undermining assumptions about human relationships and behavioural norms.

Vo frequently collaborates with friends, family, and acquaintances to enable chance in his work. In his solo exhibition untitled at South London Gallery (SLG) in 2019, Vo took over the Main Gallery and Fire Station building of SLG, and presented a site-specific work on Pelican housing estate and Art Block—SLG's art space dedicated to children. The artist's friends, lover, father, and professor were all engaged in this exhibition, along with the residents of Pelican estate, who gained access to American sculptor Isamu Noguchi's bright red Play Sculpture (1975–1976), selected by Vo. Resembling a circular, undulating band with three legs, the work invites participants to rest or play on it—a manifestation of 'freedom of expression, openness and hybridity', as reflected across Vo's own practice. Photographs by Vo's partner, Heinz Peter Knes, of his nephew Gustav; alongside paintings by his former professor, Peter Bonde, are further example of Vo's personal alliances in his work.

Alongside personal references, the exhibition at SLG contained archival elements, bringing the past into the present in his inclusion of marble compositions made up of Antique, Medieval, and 19th-century statues, melded together with brass fittings. In an Ocula Conversation with Diana d'Arenberg in 2016, Vo explains that he feels that 'Modernism detaches itself from broader history' but that he doesn't 'think that should necessarily be the case.' In his installation You're gonna die up there/ Keep away! The sow is mine/ Fuck me, fuck me, fuck me/ Let Jesus fuck you, let Jesus fuck you! Let him fuck you/ Lick me, lick me/ Do you know what she did, your cunting daughter?.... (2016), for instance, the artist combined lines from the film The Exorcist in the work's title with 450 Pleistocene mammoth fossils and a Dutch ivory crucifix from the 17th-century, to reflect on his Catholic upbringing and sexual identity, with the profane language of The Exorcist cited by the artist as having shown him the liberations of freedom of expression.

Archival materials, artefacts, and objects with specific historical connotations are also present throughout the artist's practice as references to colonial legacies and the history of globalisation. For instance, in Vo's installation composed of numerous carmine candles in varying shades of pink, titled Gardens with Pigeons in Flight (2018), the artist collaborated with artisans in Oaxaca in Mexico to bleach candles and dye them in cochineal—a reference to the pre-Hispanic tradition of cochineal dyes and their key role in European trade. The use of candles was also used a reference to Catholic faith, with cochineal having held prominence in the upper hierarchy of the Catholic Church in Europe.

Danh Vo studied at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Denmark, and the Städelschule, Frankfurt. Vo was the recipient of the Hugo Boss Prize from the Guggenheim Foundation in New York, and the Arken Art Prize in 2015, and has held numerous solo exhibitions worldwide, at institutions including CAPC Musée d'art contemporain de Bordeaux, Guggenheim Museum, and Statens Museum for Kunst in 2018; National Gallery Singapore and Aspen Museum of Art in 2016; and the Danish Pavilion of the 56th Venice Biennale, Museum Ludwig, and Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid in 2015.

His work has been exhibited at the Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Kunsthalle Fridericianum, Kassel; the Art Institute, Chicago; the Kunsthalle Bregenz; and the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris.

Tessa Moldan | Ocula

Danh Vo Featured Artworks

Untitled A-Z by Danh Vo contemporary artwork
Danh VoUntitled A-Z, 2013Set of 2 engravings on Hahnemühle Bütten 350g
Galerie Chantal Crousel Contact Gallery
Untitled by Danh Vo contemporary artwork
Danh VoUntitled, 2014Gold on cardboard (620 g), cochineal-dyed woollen rug
Galerie Chantal Crousel Contact Gallery
Untitled by Danh Vo contemporary artwork
Danh VoUntitled, 2020Gold and ink on cardboard, writing by Phung Vo - 589 g
25 x 40 x 26 cm
Galerie Chantal Crousel Contact Gallery
Gustav's Wing by Danh Vo contemporary artwork
Danh VoGustav's Wing, 2013Papier mache
Marian Goodman Gallery Contact Gallery
Top Gun by Danh Vo contemporary artwork
Danh VoTop Gun, 2013Calligraphy in pencil and ink
Xavier Hufkens Contact Gallery
Ferse by Danh Vo contemporary artwork
Danh VoFerse, 2013Gold, ink, paper, writing by Phung Vo
176 x 148 cm
Galerie Buchholz Contact Gallery
2.2.1861, 2009– by Danh Vo contemporary artwork
Danh Vo2.2.1861, 2009–, 2018Ink on A4 paper
29.6 x 21 cm
Xavier Hufkens Contact Gallery
Untitled by Danh Vo contemporary artwork
Danh VoUntitled, 2014Gold leaf on cardboard box
Variable dimensions
Not for sale
Duddell's

Danh Vo Recent Exhibitions

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Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, DEMAIN EST LA QUESTION at Galerie Chantal Crousel, Paris
Closed
27 June–25 July 2020 Group Exhibition DEMAIN EST LA QUESTION Galerie Chantal CrouselParis
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Basel & Paris at Galerie Chantal Crousel, Paris
Closed
13–26 June 2020 Group Exhibition Basel & Paris Galerie Chantal CrouselParis
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Scènes dans une bulle de cristal — Seen in a crystal ball at Galerie Chantal Crousel, Paris
Closed
25 January–29 February 2020 Group Exhibition Scènes dans une bulle de cristal — Seen in a crystal ball Galerie Chantal CrouselParis

Danh Vo Represented By

Galerie Buchholz contemporary art gallery in Berlin, Germany Galerie Buchholz Berlin, Cologne, New York
Marian Goodman Gallery contemporary art gallery in New York, USA Marian Goodman Gallery New York, Paris, London
Xavier Hufkens contemporary art gallery in 6 rue St-Georges, Brussels, Belgium Xavier Hufkens Brussels

Danh Vo In Ocula Magazine

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Paris Gallery Weekend: Exhibitions to See Ocula Report Paris Gallery Weekend: Exhibitions to See By Tessa Moldan, Paris

Between 2 and 5 July 2020, Paris Gallery Weekend brings together the best of the city's art scene for its seventh edition. This Ocula Lowdown presents a selection of highlights to catch.

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Patrick Sun: Collecting with Pride Ocula Conversation Patrick Sun: Collecting with Pride By Stephanie Bailey

Patrick Sun reflects on his work with the LGBTQ-focused Sunpride Foundation, the role of philanthropy and activism in the arts, and what he has learned in the process of developing an institution that aims to broaden perspectives surrounding identity in Asia.

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Danh Vo at Winsing Art Place, Taipei: Exhibition Walkthrough Ocula Insight Danh Vo at Winsing Art Place, Taipei: Exhibition Walkthrough

At the freshly opened Winsing Art Place in Taipei, works by Vietnamese-Danish artist Danh Vo are being presented in Taiwan for the first time. In this video, the founder of Winsing Arts Foundation, Jenny Yeh, introduces Vo's exhibition.

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Emi Eu: ‘We have to look at Southeast Asia as one market’ Ocula Conversation Emi Eu: ‘We have to look at Southeast Asia as one market’ By Stephanie Bailey, Singapore

STPI's Emi Eu reflects on S.E.A. Focus, an STPI project platforming artists and galleries from Southeast Asia, in the wake of Art Stage's decline in 2019 and ahead of the launch of Singapore's new art fair, Art SG, in October 2020.

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Danh Vo In Related Press

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Preview Art Basel 2019 Related Press Preview Art Basel 2019 7 June 2019, ARTnews

Art Basel 2019 opens to the public on Thursday, June 13, with two preview days, on June 11 and 12. Some 290 galleries from 34 countries will show work at the Swiss fair, which runs through June 16.

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THE ARTIST QUESTIONING AUTHORSHIP Related Press THE ARTIST QUESTIONING AUTHORSHIP 29 January 2018, The New Yorker

Danh Vo had just started to gain recognition as a rising young artist when he decided, in 2010, to make a full-scale replica of the Statue of Liberty. He had been offered a one-man show at the Fridericianum, a huge exhibition space in Kassel, Germany. 'The curator said he had seen shows of mine, and that I could deal with big spaces without...

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Danh Vō at White Cube, Hong Kong Related Press Danh Vō at White Cube, Hong Kong 15 November 2016, Flash Art International

For his first solo exhibition at White Cube in Hong Kong, Danh Vō presented politically charged works in which language and object are always in play. His gestures here are rooted in the leitmotifs of his prior productions, in particular identity and authorship. For Vō, a work’s materiality transforms it into something universal....

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Danh Vō at White Cube, Hong Kong Related Press Danh Vō at White Cube, Hong Kong 9 November 2016, ArtAsiaPacific

Danh Vō is no stranger to the concept of possession—of objects, of artwork and of souls. Last year, the artist finally settled a prolonged battle against a lawsuit brought about by art collector Bert Kreuk, who had allegedly commissioned Vō to create a major installation piece for him (due to be shown in a prime position at an exhibition of...

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