070512: Kunsthaus Bregenz - Danh Vo – Vo Danh

Kunsthaus Bregenz Danh Vo – Vo Danh 21.04.12 – 24.06.12 Sacralization trap snapped shut By Wolfgang Ölz In Bregenz, Danh Vo is presenting his work on all three floors of the Kunsthaus so that the entire show is one complete work of art composed of one huge installation of mixed media. There are black-and-white photos on the first floor depicting scenes from Vietnam, there are folding tables on the second floor that are like a glimpse into the atelier where Danh Vo does his work and there are packing cartons on the third floor which Vo has covered with his trademark, namely letters and flags in gold leaf. The Kunsthaus Bregenz is an institution that operates internationally but this time, the unconventional and spontaneous doesn't seem, quite justifiably, to spring from the art itself. It seems as if this exhibition has been put together very hastily and also very intuitively. This could be associated with the modus operandi of the Vietnamese shooting star who - as opposed to a Damien Hirst who employs a whole staff of assistants - has let his father produce some works such as the golden inscriptions. And there we have the first decisive keyword, namely "Father". As a small child, Danh Vo fled from Vietnam as one of the Boat People, and his father, a fervent Catholic, took the family to Denmark where Vo spent his youth and also studied art. In a conversation, it's the far eastern smile coupled with artistic understatement, which appears to make the artist congenial but not unprofessional - or let's say non-professional. And yet the show is perfectly composed right through from beginning to end, and has its own charm which is precisely to be found in the hasty way of working. The Cinderella fairy tale appears again and again in the show, written by the father and printed in gold leaf on cartons in Thailand. Vo himself isn't interested in the beautiful girl who does nothing but gets her prince in the end; he's more interested in the ugly sisters who cut their feet into shape to make them fit the shoe. Vo is convinced that hard, yes even brutal, correction – as opposed to just being beautiful and letting everything fall into one's lap - more closely corresponds to reality. Danh Vo works a lot with dreams whereby he doesn't want to stipulate which dream is more true or correct. Is it the father's dream of his own Mercedes, which is presented in the form of an engine mount readymade in the style of Marcel Duchamps? Is it the dream of a better life, which every emigrant carries inside of him when he is in New York and sees the Statue of Liberty for the first time? Is it the dream of being drunk, which Vo has evenly distributed in Johnny Walker bottles on the first floor? Or is it the dream of a heavenly netherworld, which those French missionaries, murdered in 19th century Vietnam, carried in their hearts, and whose epigraph Vo has carved on a marble slab for posterity? Without doubt, Danh Vo produces great art, even if he leaves questions open. One can excuse the provisional folding tables and the gold leaf strewn over the staircase because the Kunsthaus's sacralization trap has simply snapped shut and makes everything great where fortuitousness, and not a regulatory intellect, has helped. Kunsthaus Bregenz 6900 Bregenz, Karl Tizian Platz Tel: +43 5574 48 594-0 Fax: +43 5574 48 594-8 E-mail: kub@kunsthaus-bregenz.at http://www.kunsthaus-bregenz.at Opening hours: Tue-Sun 10-18, Thu 10-21 hours

Kunsthaus Bregenz
6900 Bregenz, Karl Tizian Platz
Tel: +43 5574 48 594-0, Fax: +43 5574 48 594-8
Email: kub@kunsthaus-bregenz.at
Öffnungszeiten: Di-So 10-18, Do 10-20 Uhr

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