press release

From 30 August to 2 December 2018, the National Gallery of Denmark (SMK) presents a large-scale retrospective featuring one of Denmark’s most internationally acclaimed contemporary artists: Danh Vo. The exhibition at SMK is the result of a unique collaboration with The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York.

Full-scale replicas of the folds of the Statue of Liberty’s robes, a chandelier that has witnessed major turning points in history, and letters from a warring and ballet-loving Henry Kissinger.

On 30 August SMK presents the largest exhibition ever presented in Denmark featuring the work of Danish-Vietnamese artist Danh Vo (b. 1975). More than 75 works of art, including several entirely new works produced especially for SMK, will fill the museum’s exhibition rooms. At the same time Vo also takes over the museum’s Sculpture Street to present a very special project.

In his art, Vo works with existing and found materials such as a classical marble sculptures, a lavish watch, a worn-out refrigerator, personal letters and historical photographs, deconstructing and combining these objects to create new works with new meaning. He often uses his personal history as the starting point for discussing universal themes such as migration, globalisation and desire.

From 5th Avenue to Sølvgade
The exhibition Danh Vo –Take My Breath Away was curated in collaboration with the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, which presented a version of this exhibition in the museum’s iconic rotunda this spring. For the SMK show, Vo has developed entirely new settings for the presentation of his works – including anumber of large-scale Chinese pavilions made of wood.

Vo's exhibition also spreads out into the museum's Sculpture Street. Here, Vo has chosen a selection of plaster casts of ancient and medieval sculptures from the Royal Cast Collection, which is a part of SMK's collection. He combines them with Akari paper lamps and herb beds grown in collaboration with the museum café, Kafeteria, which Vo took part in designing earlier this year.

Vo also entered into collaboration with noted textile company Kvadrat to delve into the archives of the prominent designer Nanna Ditzel, rediscovering one of her historic designs: Hallingdal Mega. Ditzel's textiles are used to upholster circular daybeds inspired by Enzo Mari and for a specifically designed giant cushion for the museum's vast stage chairs.

Danh Vo and SMK
SMK has followed Danh Vo ever since the early beginnings of his career, making this his third exhibition at the museum. A crucially important contemporary artist, Vo is particularly interesting to SMK because his art delves into cultural, aesthetic and political aspects of the past, reflecting current themes and issues in history. This approach closely resembles how SMK, being a national gallery that houses art from the fourteenth century to the present day, works with the past and present and all their mutual interactions under the same roof.

The exhibition is organised in collaboration with The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York.