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Danh Vō

17 September—7 November 2021
Secession, Vienna, Austria

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“When you examine the present you must understand your past: the past that has identified your own present. I also believe you must look into the future. That’s definitely a philosophy of life that I live with and hopefully that shows in the work that I do.” - Danh Vō

Danh Vō’s conceptual works and installations often build on personal experiences to address larger historical, social, and political concerns. Born in Vietnam and raised in Denmark, the artist is fascinated by the ways in which objects and histories become intertwined, serving as projections of national anxieties and personal identities. While the erotic and violent power plays of colonialism are a recurrent theme, so too are the sacred and profane dances of religion, and the manner in which administrative systems seek to shape (even curtail) personal intimacy and expression.

Vō’s installations present a plethora of artistic strategies, including documents, photographs, found objects (of historic or emotional significance), textual fragments in the form of ornate calligraphies executed by his father, and sometimes works by other artists. As an artist, Vō encompasses multiple roles—curator, collector, historian, auction scout—allowing him to deftly play with objects and contexts. Grappling with artefacts that are fraught with symbolic or emotional meaning, the artist resets their signification from project to project.