Danh Võ: Ydob eht ni mraw si ti
Heinrich-Böll-Platz, 50667 Köln, Germany
The Vietnamese artist Danh Võ (b.1975) is presenting his most well-known long-term project We The People in an exhibition that was specifi cally conceived for the Museum Ludwig. This sculptural project is a full-scale replica of the Statue of Liberty comprised of over 250 pieces in total. While most of the fragments are scattered across various public and private collections around the world, the Museum Ludwig is presenting the six-meter-high, largest contiguous piece to date of this expansive copper sculpture.
Furthermore, Danh Võ will stage a dialogue between new works of his own and selected works by the American photographer Peter Hujar.
The title of the exhibition, Ydob eht ni mraw si ti, initially seems to be written in a non-European language. Danh Võ’s background could lead one to assume that the words are Vietnamese. However, upon closer examination, it becomes apparent that the letters form the sentence “It is warm in the body” read backward. The title gains a further layer of meaning in light of the fact that it is a demonic quotation from the legendary horror film The Exorcist.
In his objects, installations, photographs, and works on paper, Danh Võ, who grew up in Copenhagen, combines personal experiences from his childhood in Vietnam with his family’s history and their flight to Europe. The artist connects these elements with questions of colonialism, migration, and cultural identity. Among the threads that run throughout his work are same-sex relationships and the questioning of behavioral norms, both in society as a whole and in the context
Currently Danh Võ is presenting two exhibitions in Venice: he is representing Denmark at the 56th Biennale and also curated the exhibition Slip of the Tongue at the Punta della Dogana. He received considerable international attention with solo exhibitions in Basel, Kassel, Chicago, Bregenz, and Paris as well as through his participation in the Berlin, Gwangju, and Singapore biennials.
Curator: Yilmaz Dziewior
Image: Danh Võ, We The People (Armpit), 2011-13, Copper, Dimensions variable, Installation view, Museum Ludwig Cologne, Photo: RBA Köln / Britta Schlier © Danh Võ