Danh Vo – We The People

PEER, London

Danh Vo’s project We The People has occupied a team of skilled craftsmen in China in the faithful reconstruction of an actual size
replica of Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi’s Statue of Liberty. Working from the sculptor’s original drawings, more than
200 elements have been beaten and welded from 2.5mm sheets of copper over plaster and metal armature, following
the original construction method. As pieces are made, they are shipped off in batches to museums, galleries,
biennales and art fairs. The fabrication is nearly complete – only Liberty’s great tablet still left to make, which bears
the date July 4th, 1776 and marks the United States’ independence from Great Britain.Upon completion, We The People is unlikely to ever come together as one, but instead will continue to circumnavigate
the globe for long into the future while gradually being acquired into public and private collections worldwide. In this
instance perhaps, the parts are greater than the whole. This dismembered Liberty munificently infuses democracy
and freedom wherever she is scattered – like a virus. To date, elements of the project have been shown in major public
institutions in Kassel, Paris, Barcelona, Shanghai, Chicago, Copenhagen, Bregenz, Shenzhen, Ghent, Bangkok, Porto
and New York. This autumn will be the first substantial showing of Vo’s work in London when PEER will be exhibiting 
26 elements. The majority of these will be sections from the dais upon which she stands – flat geometric forms of various
sizes, reminiscent perhaps of Carl Andre or Donald Judd’s minimalist sculpture. But the inclusion of figurative
elements will inject a Baroque, perhaps surreal disjunction to the installation inviting a more complex reading.The multiple and powerful resonances of We The People are not lost on Vo, and he is keen to leave them tantalisingly
open-ended. There are many ways of interrogating and interpreting the project’s means of production and
dissemination as well as the rich potential for symbolic readings of this ‘gift’ from the people of France to the people
of America and its legacy. Liberty has famously greeted vessels of arriving immigrants to the US since she was erected
in 1886. Her dissected and appropriated doppelganger will greet local, national and international visitors to PEER.Danh Vo (born 1975 in Vietnam) lives and works in Berlin and New York. Vo has exhibited at major international venues, including: The Renaissance Society and Art Institute of Chicago (2012–13), the New Museum, New York (2012), Kunsthaus Bregenz (2012), National Gallery of Denmark, Copenhagen (2012, 2010); Kunsthalle Basel, Switzerland (2009), Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2008). He took part in the Berlin Biennial (2010), The Shanghai Biennial (2012), was winner of the 2012 Hugo Boss Prize with a solo show at the Guggenheim, New York (2013). He is currently participating in the Venice Biennale, and is exhibiting at Xavier Hufkens, Brussels; the Walker Art Centre in Minneapolis, and Kurimanzutto in Mexico. We The People is presented courtesy of Galerie Chantal Crousel, Paris.
Danh Vo

Open:Thursday, 03 October 2013
Close:Saturday, 07 December 2013
Address:PEER, 97 & 99 Hoxton Street, London N1 6QL
Mail: info@peeruk.org
Phone:+44 (0) 20 7739 8080
Opening hour:Wed – Sat | noon to 6pm
Closing day:Sun-Mon-Tue
Photo credits:Danh Vo, We The People (detail), 2011–2013, Installation view at PEER

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