Danh Võ: Ydob eht ni mraw si ti
Museum Ludwig
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
of art.

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



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