Appearing highly personal at first glance, the work of Danh Vo is in fact powerfully political. Neither direct nor confrontational, his practice explores the power games underlying liberal societies, the rules governing those societies, and the fragility of the nation-state idea.
Built around the circulation of values, be they material, economic, symbolic or spiritual, the artist’s oeuvre reveals, too, the complexity of the interchange between peoples in the context of post-colonial society.
Vo’s installation Go Mo Ni Ma Da revolves around four groups of works: We The People is a life-size reproduction of the Auguste Bartholdi’s Statue of Liberty, inaugurated in 1886. Thirty copper fragments are presented in the exhibition, together with photographs taken by Bartholdi in Egypt.
Three chandeliers conjure up the ballroom of the Hotel Majestic, where the Paris Peace Accords between the United States and Vietnam were signed on 27 January 1973.
In a work referencing Théophane Vénard (1829-1861), the artist evokes the Paris Foreign Missions Society, a body of Catholic missionary priests functioning in Asia since the 17th century, and its relationship with Vietnam.
Nine works included in this exhibition were produced from lots acquired from Sotheby’s auction of the Estate of Robert S. McNamara, the former American Secretary of Defense, whom the New York Times eulogized in 2009 as ‘the failed architect of the Vietnam War.’
A handwritten work produced in situ by the artist’s father is also part of the exhibition.
Published retrospectively after the exhibition Danh Vo: Go Mo Ni Ma Da at Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, 24 May – 10 August 2013.
English and French text.
- Danh Vo - Go Mo Ni Ma Da
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