About the exhibition – We the People (Detail)

The year 1886 saw the creation of what may be the ultimate symbol of democracy and freedom. Danh Vo had an exact, full-scale copy of the Statue of Liberty made. Divided it into approximately 400 parts and scattered the statue all across the world.

Picture of Danh Vos sculpture under construction in Shanghai, March 2012

The symbol of a new, democratic nation

The exhibition took its point of departure in one of the central symbols of the iconography of American identity: the Statue of Liberty. The sculpture is the symbol of the new, democratic nation, and she was the first sight that greeted generations of immigrants upon their arrival to the Promised Land.

Complete, full-scale copy

Danh Vo has created an exact, full-scale replica of the French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi’s Statue of Liberty, which stands 45 metres tall on Liberty Island in the New York harbour.

About the title

The title of Danh Vo’s sculpture is We the People. The title comes from the United States Constitution from 1787, which is opened by those three words. The exhibition held in the Gallery’s Sculpture Street added (Detail) to the overall title; a reference to the fact that only parts of the sculpture were on display at the Gallery.

A model of the Statue of Liberty with its parts marked out at the Shanghai workshop.

A model of the Statue of Liberty with its parts marked out at the Shanghai workshop.

Individual sculptures
Like the original statue, Vo’s replica is fashioned out of copper sheets. However, the copy of the Statue of Liberty has not been – and will not be – welded together like the original statue. Rather, the replica, which was created at a metal workshop in Shanghai, will remain split into approximately 400 parts.

Rethinking the classic exhibition format

The project challenges habitual views of originality and of the nature of sculpture. Similarly, the exhibition also reinvented the classic exhibition format.

Throughout the exhibition run new parts of the sculpture were added, some moved around, and others were sent on to other destinations. This is to say that the exhibition was in a constant state of flux and that all the parts shown at the Gallery only were passing through.

The many parts were exhibited in various places of the world on an ongoing basis. You were able to experience a total of approximately 100 elements in the Sculpture Street.

In this project the monumental and highly symbolic Statue of Liberty became a fragmented, travelling phenomenon that formed new meaning and significance through new combinations and encounters with audiences worldwide.

Get an overview of where the individual parts of Dahn Vo’s work can be found:

Show We the People (Detail) on a larger map

Click on the link to see where you could find Danh Vo’s sculpture all across the world.

Updated: 2.mar.2017
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