More Danh Vo works at the Gallery
The National Gallery of Denmark has just expanded its collection of Danh Vo’s works with the photographic series Joseph M. Carrier Archive 1962-1973 from 2010. The series comprises a total of 24 black-and-white photographs, of which a selection of six can now be viewed in the Gallery’s section on Danish and International Art after 1900.
The photographs were originally part of an extensive collection of archival materials that Vo received from a retired US military analyst, Joseph M. Carrier. During the Vietnam war Carrier was stationed abroad and regularly recorded Vietnamese everyday life with his camera. Local boys bathing, holding hands, etc., are a recurring motif of Carrier’s photos, and the pictures as a whole express the subtle homoerotic fascination of a white man in a strange country.
Danh Vo is gay himself and was born in Vietnam in the year that Carrier left the country. After the war Vo’s family fled the country, and he retains only very few memories from their life in Vietnam. Acting as a kind of surrogate autobiography Carrier’s photos come to fill out some of the gaps in Vo’s private documentation, and simply by virtue of their change in ownership the photographs themselves come to represent a more universal story of identity, immigration, and loss.
See Danh Vo’s works at the Gallery
In Danish and International Art after 1900 visitors can now view a selection of the photographs side by side with another work by Danh Vo: 08:03:51, 28.05.2009.
Since the spring of 2012 Danh Vo has also taken over the Gallery’s large Sculpture Street with the exhibition We the People (Detail), which is as subtle as it is monumental. Here, Vo has created a full-scale copper replica of one of the main icons of Western culture: the 45m tall Statue of Liberty from New York. The replica is exact, but one crucial detail makes all the difference: Vo did not assemble the many individual parts, but exhibits them in various groupings at a range of sites across the world.
From refugee to star artist
Danh Vo was born in the south of Vietnam in 1975. When Vo was four his family fled Vietnam in a boat. Their intended goal was the USA, but the family was picked up by a Danish container vessel instead. Vo’s art is very much infused by his personal history, the arbitrary element of chance that decided his family’s link to Denmark, and especially by the question of how identity is shaped by overall cultural and political situations.
Today Danh Vo primarily lives and works in Basel and New York. He is a graduate from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen and the Städelschule in Frankfurt. In recent years he has won great acclaim on the international art scene, and his work has been acquired by museums such as MoMA in New York.
Danh Vo already has a wide range of major exhibitions behind him, including shows at The Art Institute and The Renaissance Society in Chicago, the New Museum and Artist’s Space in New York, Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, Kunsthalle Basel, and Kunsthaus Bregenz, and in 2010 he was featured at x-rummet at the National Gallery of Denmark, where he staged the exhibition Hip Hip Hurra.
Won prestigious award
A few weeks ago Danh Vo received the highly prestigious Hugo Boss Prize, which is awarded by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation. Awarded every second year, the prize has previously gone to important artists such as Matthew Barney, Douglas Gordon, Rirkrit Tiravanija, and Tacita Dean. In addition to USD 100,000 the accolade also means that Danh Vo will stage a solo show at the Guggenheim Museum in New York next year.
When Vo was announced as the winner of this year’s prize the jury offered the following reason for their choice: "Vo’s assured and subtle work expresses a number of urgent concerns related to cultural identity, politics, and history, evoking these themes through shifting, poetic forms that traverse time and geography."
More about the award