Art@Site Vo Danh We the People (detail) California

Vo Danh


We the People (detail)

The Donum Estate
puny fragment
We see three fragments of the Statue of Liberty according to Vo Danh. I recognize the first fragment immediately: I think this is a detail of a crease. I doubt about the horizontal fragment; do we see a detail of the torch? To be honest, I don’t recognize the third fragment. I know that this detail is part of the Statue of Liberty, but I wouldn't know where this details belongs.
We People by Vo Danh is spread all over the world. You can find the fragments of the Statue of Liberty in museums, private collections, in sculpture gardens, in public spaces. By assembling these details we can make the Statue of Liberty according to Vo Danh complete again.
Do you ever feel you’re a puny fragment? That you are fallen apart? That you don't know which part of yourself you see? That you think you are puny, worthless, small? That you for a second forget that you are beautiful, complete, precious?
It can be difficult to assemble your fragments, to see your complete self again. After inquiries, you can sometimes hear what of your details can be found in the lives of others.
By Theo,

nietig fragment
Wij zien drie fragmenten van het Vrijheidsbeeld volgens Vo Danh. Het eerste fragment herken ik direct; volgens mij is dit een detail van een plooi. Bij het liggende fragment twijfel ik; zien wij een detail van de toorts? Eerlijk gezegd herken ik het derde fragment niet. Ik weet dat ook dit detail bij het Vrijheidsbeeld hoort, maar ik zou niet weten op welke plek dit detail thuishoort.
We People van Vo Danh is verspreid over de gehele wereld. De fragmenten van het Vrijheidsbeeld kun je aantreffen in musea, private collecties, in beeldentuinen, in openbare ruimten. Door deze details samen te voegen hebben wij weer het Vrijheidsbeeld van Vo Danh compleet.
Voel jij je ook soms een nietig fragment? Dat je uiteen bent gevallen? Dat je niet meer weet welk deel je van jezelf ziet? Dat je denkt dat je nietig, waardeloos, klein bent? Dat je even vergeten bent dat je mooi, compleet, waardevol bent?
Het kan moeite kosten om je fragmenten bijeen te rapen, om je complete zelf weer te zien. Als je navraag doet, kun je horen welke van jouw details te vinden zijn in het leven van anderen.
Door Theo,
Few sculptures have enjoyed as much attention and adulation as the Statue of Liberty. It has been photographed, filmed and reproduced, and appeared in innumerable works of art. Yet no artist has treated it as Danh Vo has.
As an artist, Vo explores the themes of physical displacement and cultural dislocation. "We the People (detail)" is his life-size reconstruction of the Statue of Liberty. Rather than replicating the sculpture in a single piece, which would be unworkable, Vo has reproduced it to scale, but in broken fragments of hammered copper. He was particularly intrigued by how thin the skin of the Statue of Liberty is – the thickness of two pennies: 'I was interested in how something so seemingly fragile could be so strong,' he has said."'We the People' is not about going to the past," explains the artist. "Since it's one of the most important icons for Western liberty, I think that it is very much about the present, and our future,' he says. 'I chose the title because the first three words of the Declaration of Independence are relevant and are also a fragment.'
To Vo, the Statue of Liberty has been interpreted and reinterpreted too many t"I was very clear from the beginning that it didn't need more interpretation." Replicating the statue on a 1:1 scale is, to Vo, the most straightforward way of working with it. He has reproduced the iconic statue in life size, but in fragments. These scattered fragments are now in the collections of museums and private institutions and individuals around the world.

SMK – Statens Museum for Kunst:
In this video the artist Danh Vo tells about his work. A full-scale replica of the Statue of Liberty has been built at a metal workshop in Shanghai. However, the statue has not been welded together to reach its full height of 45 metres; rather, it has been split into approximately 400 fragments that have been scattered across the entire world.
We the Peoplemakes a familiar national icon unfamiliar. By engaging with a universally recognized personification of liberty, the artist invites us to reflect on the abstract concept of freedom. The work suggests the fluidity and fragility of an established cultural symbol, and asks the viewer to consider h its many potential meanings are circulated in the world.
We The People (2010-2014) is a 1:1 replica of Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi’s Statue of Liberty, recreated by artist Danh Vo (b. 1975) in about 250 individual pieces. Vo’s segmented version is faithful to the original, using the same fabrication techniques and copper material. However, he never intends to assemble all of the pieces of the statue.
Instead We The People invites us to experience this world famous icon on a human scale, and to reflect on the meaning of liberty from multiple perspectives.
We The People brings together a constellation of historical and cultural references that frame Vo’s process, calling attention to the similarities and differences between the means of production in the 19th century and today’s global economic system. While the Statue of Liberty was a gift from France to the United States, paid for (in part) by American citizens, and construcnch laborers, Vo’s We The People was conceived in Germany, fabricated in Shanghai, supported by his French gallery, collections and art institutions worldwide, and dispersed to exhibition venues in more than 15 countries.
This exhibition at City Hall Park and Brooklyn Bridge Park presents nearly a fifth of Vo’s project in two distinct installations. The presentation at City Hall Park, dispersed in small groupings among Victorian-style lawns and trees, gathers a selection of pieces that range from the figurative to the abstract, and from the ornate to the minimal. Inside the lobby of City Hall, visitors will encounter the ear of the statue placed beneath the cornerstone of the historic building, and links of the chain found at the feet of the statue scattered beneath the rotunda staircase of the entrance. Interested in City Hall Park’s colonial aesthetic, Vo also designed a new flower garden for a large planter at the southern entrance of the park. The garden is comprised of flowers and plants that wtalogued by 19th century French missionaries in Southern Asia and later imported to Europe and North America. Like We The People, Vo’s garden addresses themes of cultural interchange and the residue of colonialism today.
Vo was born in Vietnam, and escaped his homeland in dramatic circumstances. His family was among the 20,000 South Vietnamese citizens who were moved in 1975 to the island of Phu Quoc, which housed South Vietnam’s largest prisoner camp. When the little boy was four years old, his family escaped the island in a homemade boat. They were rescued at sea by a freighter operated by a Danish shipping company, and they subsequently settled in Denmark.
Today, Vo is based in Berlin. He was selected to represent Denmark at the 2015 Venice Biennale and his work has been shown at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Musée d'art moderne de la Ville de Paris, and the Guggenheim in New