When the Nivaagaard Art Collection opens its doors to DANH VO PRESENTS it is the initiation of a three-year collaboration with the Danish-Vietnamese artist who grew up in Nivå and today, has the whole world as his stage. With the exhibition series, DANH VO PRESENTS, over the next few years, Vo will display his favourite artists from his personal art collection in the Art Collection’s surroundings. Indeed, there are two exciting collectors from Nivå – the museum founder, Johannes Hage, and Danh Vo.
Danh Vo’s first exhibition at the Art Collection presents works from his collection of artists such as Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Sister Corita Kent and Nancy Spero, all of which are of great importance to Danh Vo’s own art. We come close with Vo’s work technique and thought process as he arranges the carefully selected works in an installation where they each borrow meaning from one another and, together, produce a work by Danh Vo himself. Religion, suffering and the very act of collecting, are themes in the exhibition which relate to the museum’s own art collection, which includes multiple religious masterpieces with pieces from the Renaissance, Baroque and Danish Golden Age.
Danh Vo and the Nivaagaard Art Collection
With the exhibition series, DANH VO PRESENTS, the Nivaagaard Art Collection joins the international star artist, Danh Vo, in a new and exciting collaboration. As a child, Vo and his family fled from Vietnam and ended up in Nivå, where he grew up and visited the Nivaagaard Art Collection with his school. Since then, he has taken to the artistic world stage where he has, amongst other things, represented Denmark at the Venice Biennale and held a major solo exhibition at the Guggenheim in New York. Today, he lives between Mexico and Berlin, and has just opened a major solo exhibition in Japan, at the National Museum of Art in Osaka.
Now, Danh Vo returns to Nivå to present some of his favourite international artists who constitute his art collection, surrounded by the Art Collection’s classical works. Johannes Hage – the founder of the museum, landowner, politician and brickworks manufacturer – was a keen collector of European art and opened up his art collection in Nivå to the public in 1908. Since then, the collection has grown and today it consists of more than 230 works, with over 500 years of art history, including notable artwork from the Italian Renaissance, Dutch Baroque and Danish Golden Age.
The Artist, Danh Vo
Danh Vo’s work often refers to his past as a Vietnamese boat refugee which he intertwines with collective world history. Vo and his family fled on a homemade boat in 1979. They were rescued by a Danish Maersk ship and stayed at a refugee camp in Singapore before being granted asylum in Denmark in 1980. Here, the family lived in Nivå for many years, where Danh Vo went to the local school until he was kicked out of eighth grade. He has since graduated from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts (1998-2002) and the Städelschule in Frankfurt (2002-2005).
Vo’s art commonly revolves around the notion of one’s career and identity being created by great cultural and political factors beyond the individual’s control. His work often employs archaeological and cultural-historical elements in the form of recovered items and traces of the past, which have connections to large-scale historical events or small personal experiences.
The collaboration between Vo and the Nivaagaard Art Collection thus signifies an extension of his artistic approach in which his own biography plays a central role. In addition, Danh Vo’s first exhibition at the Art Collection reflects another central element of his artistic approach – namely, his intimate relation to other artists’ works, which he often incorporates and conceptually builds upon in his own work. The exhibition gathers a handful of controversial, poetic, ground-breaking and critical works from his collection of artists such as Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Sister Corita Kent and Nancy Spero, all of which are of great importance to Danh Vo’s own art. Included in the exhibition, are also individual works by artists with whom Danh Vo has a close relationship.