Encounter with Danh Vō
In conversation with Patricia Falguières
In recent art history, the kind of fascination and perplexity the work of Danh Vō (Vietnam, 1975) has evoked among critics has seldom been seen. His oeuvre, inseparable from reminiscences about life experience that touches on his exile during the Vietnam War and his arrival in Denmark as a refugee, takes possession of the Western art object - from baroque sculptures to words extracted from films like The Exorcist – as it revives an intense and complex biography. This narrative, a far cry from the self-satisfied myth of the artist, is interspersed with a consideration of how art objects symbolise a particular culture or way of representing and comprehending the world, and is exhibited and confronted by the artist with no palliatives. Equally, Dahn Vō’s work engages in a broader conversation, whereby allusions to kindred artists speak of the artist’s fragile and vulnerable position in society. Iconoclasm, desire and cultural migration also heavily underscore his sculptures. This conversation sees art historian Patricia Falguières converse with the artist to look at a body of work that contains innumerable interpretations and challenges.
Patricia Falguières. Professor at the École des hautes études in social sciences, Paris. She has published numerous essays, which include Les Chambres de merveilles (Bayard, 2002) and Le Maniérisme. Une avant-garde au XVIe siècle (Gallimard, 2004). She is also in charge of the French critical edition of works such as Brian O’Doherty’s Inside the White Cube (JRP|Ringier, 2008) and Les cabinets d’art et de merveilles de larenaissance tardive, by Julius von Schlosser (Macula, 2012). Since 2012 she has chaired the Board of Directors of the Centre National des Arts Plastiques.
Danh Vō. Artist. He has been the subject of solo exhibitions in museums and institutions such as the Royal Academy of Arts, London (2001), the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam (2008), the Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen (2010–11, 2012), the Kunsthalle Fridericianum, Kassel (2011), the Musée d’art moderne de la Ville, Paris (2013) and the Museo Júmex, in Mexico City (2015). Furthermore, he has participated in a range of collective shows, for instance biennales in Berlin (2010, 2014), Singapore (2011), Venice (2013 and 2015) and in the Whitney Museum, New York (2014); the Kunsthalle Basel (2010) and the Centre Georges Pompidou, in Paris (2014).