Born in Bà Ria, Vietnam, in 1975, Danh Vo is a Danish artist who escaped by boat from his native country with his parents at the age of four. He studied at the Städelschule in Frankfurt, Germany and at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen. Winner of the Hugo Boss Prize in 2012, nominated for the Nationalgalerie Prize for Young Art in Berlin in 2009 and recipient of the BlauOrange Kunstpreis der Deutschen Volksbanken und Raiffeisenbanken in 2007, he has participated in various international contemporary art biennials (Berlin, 2010; Shanghai, 2012; Venice, 2013 and 2015).

His work has been presented in numerous exhibitions at the most prestigious institutions around the world: Solomon R. Guggenheim, New York (2018), National Gallery Singapore (2017); Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (2016); Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid (2015) to name but a few.

About the artworks

Seeking to address the paradoxes of space and time, Dahn Vo’s conceptual work deals with questions of identity, memory and belonging. “My parents were always quite skeptical about my artistic venture [...]. We didn’t talk much, because their Danish is not as good as their Vietnamese and I’m the opposite. [...] I think my whole project is about establishing this relationship, how to understand each other without talking, through the structures, the work, everything else.” Between his personal experience and the collective history that shapes our individuality, Dahn Vo produces work made of intertwined, superimposed or dislocated elements, sometimes mixing the organic with the cultural, and persuades us that objects accumulate within themselves a highly symbolic charge. The only connection between them - for example, a statue of Liberty in pieces, scattered chandeliers, branches, photographs, etc. - is the one he creates in relation to the things he has lived through and the things that have lived through him.

Within an exhibition the artist is thus able to make residues of history, mineral relics and religious relics hum together in a dynamic and intellectually generous conversation. Or in the friction between ages—geological and human, classical and contemporary, illustrating in his own way the relationships of power, influence, domination, shaking the notions of authenticity and purity. “Scattering [objects] is not an act of violence against history but rather a desperate attempt to find the utility of these objects. I believe that things are not made to remain  joined, static, it is in everyday history when things always become other and it is in this process of mutation that they acquire their use,” he says.

The artworks

Collection of contemporary art