A press release issued by the Danish Arts Foundation today states that the Committee for Visual Arts Project Funding has selected Danh Vo as the artist to be featured in the Danish Pavilion in the 2015 Venice Biennial.
Appointing Danh Vo to represent Denmark at the 56th Venice Biennial is not just an obvious choice in view of the committee’s ambition to “show pre-eminent examples of Danish contemporary art in an international context”. Out of all currently active artists with close ties to Denmark, Vo has had one of the most prominent careers on the international art scene in the last decade. He exhibits his work at many of the most important institutions in the world and collaborates with some of the most cutting-edge artists, curators, and galleries around today. But Vo is also an interesting choice for a national pavilion because he often addresses, with his distinctive neo-conceptual approach, issues of nationality and migrant culture in a highly personal manner, always characterised by his unusually well-honed sense for reading rooms and contexts – both physical and cultural. His large-scale work We the People (Detail), 2010-2013, which has been exhibited at e.g. Statens Museum for Kunst in Copenhagen, is a good example of this.
Danh Vo (b. 1975) is a graduate from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Art in Copenhagen and the Städelschule in Frankfurt. Born in Vietnam, Vo grew up in Denmark, arriving here at the age of four with his family.
With their choice of Vo the Danish Arts Foundation continues the selection policy evident from the previous Venice Biennial, where Denmark was represented by another young Danish male artist with an international career, Jesper Just (who belongs to the same generation of artists as Vo).
Back then the International Committee for Visual Arts wanted the pavilion to house a project that integrated and merged art, architecture, and communication, even going so far as to dictate that “such ‘experimental co-operation’ will form the fundamental premise of the Danish contribution to the Biennial”, which specifically meant that Just would “work closely with an architect and a communicator/educator of his choice”, as the press release issued back then said. The very brief press release provided by the Danish Arts Foundation today stipulates no particular preconditions or expectations regarding Danh Vo’s upcoming contribution to the Danish Pavilion.
The Danish Arts Foundation’s Committee for Visual Arts Project Funding is responsible for and funds Denmark’s participation in the Venice Biennial. The current Committee comprises the following members: Gitte Ørskou (chair), Bodil Nielsen, Lilibeth Cuenca Rasmussen, Jacob Tækker, and Claus Andersen.