(+351) 226 156 500
from 23 JUL 2018 to 15 MAR 2019
DANH VÕ (Born in 1975, Bà Ria, Vietnam)
We the people (detail), 2011
Copper| Coll. Fundação de Serralves — Museu de Arte Contemporânea, Porto. Acquired 2013

Danh Võ addresses concepts of currency and authenticity. The circulation of ideas and ideologies and the questioning of authorship are features of his subtle yet eloquent body of work. Displacement, the encounter of cultures and migration, which have marked his life trajectory, are some of his recurring themes: forced into exile, in 1979 Võ escaped by boat with his family to Copenhagen, where he began his art studies, later completed in Frankfurt; in 2005, Võ moved to Berlin, where he currently lives.

We the people (detail) — whose title quotes the first three words of the Constitution of the United States — is part of a project about the Statue of Liberty that began in 2010. Impressed by the fragility of the copper sheet surface covering the monument’s steel structure, Võ commissioned a 1:1 scale replica of the cladding. The purpose was not to build a new statue but, in a gesture of appropriation, to reconstruct its individual elements and to scatter them across different collections throughout the world, taking to the extreme the real fragmentation of the statue, two pieces of which were displayed (the torch-holding hand in Philadelphia, and the head in Paris) before its final assembly and installation on Liberty Island in New York Bay, near Ellis Island, the gateway to America for millions of immigrants in the first half of the twentieth century. While keeping a connection to this universal symbol, Võ’s fragments, which very likely will never be gathered together in the same space again, underscore the erosion of its mythical significance. Having identified the whole of which the exhibited fragment is a piece and confronted with the material and conceptual fragility of the iconic monument, the
viewer questions the abstract and vulnerable nature of the concept of freedom.
  • LocationPorto Airport (Arrivals Hall)
  • Days 23 JUL 2018 - 15 MAR 2019

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