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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The French Academy in Rome - Villa Medici 



We The People (detail), (2011-2013) - Photo Nils Klinger

The solo exhibition of Danh Vo – Chung ga opla at Villa Medici from 11 January to 10 February 2013 – is the second in a series of exhibitions focusing on the theme of Academia curated by Alessandro Rabottini.

Born in 1975 in Saigon, Danh Vo has affirmed himself in only a few years as one of the most original voices in the International artistic panorama, thanks to the variety of idioms with which he treats the great themes of history - colonialism, economic and cultural imperialism, the relations between East and West and war - from a personal point of view.

His work combines autobiography with the narration of great events, thus disintegrating the great division between History and personal history, between the dimension of individual experience and the horizon of world events.  

At the age of four, Danh Vo and his family escaped from Vietnam to find refuge in Denmark, following the historical events involving his native country as well as his own family. War, the subdivision of ex-Indochina, the French conquest and conversion to Catholicism… these and other collective traumas are omnipresent in Danh Vo’s work: a constant fusion between past and present, violence and poetry, destruction and transformation.

We The People (detail), (2011-2013) - Photo Nils Klinger

In his installations of objets trouvés and manipulated objects, the artist develops a formal idiom with references to post-minimalist art and Arte Povera, ethnographic and archaeological museology, commercial display and theatrical space.

On the occasion of his exhibition at Villa Medici, Danh Vo will create a series of installations in collaboration with members of his family.  The intimacy of this situation contrasts with the monumentality of the context that plays host to the exhibition: a fusion of everyday life with the official character amplified by the title.  Chung ga opla, is the phonetic translation of the Vietnamese expression indicating « sunny side up» eggs (in French « œufs au plat »). It evokes the image of morning food-sharing as a ritual celebrating unity.

The exhibition at Villa Medici will mix existing works with new pieces expressly created for this unprecedented project conceived specifically for the French Academy in Rome.

The exhibition Danh Vo - Chung ga opla is part of a cycle of three personal exhibitions that constitute an extension of the Teatro delle Esposizioni #3, which took place at Villa Medici in June and October of 2012. This cycle investigates the concept of Academy as a symbolic space where the idea of the presumed neutrality of art is superimposed on the concept of National identity and within which the dimensions of history, tradition, politics and culture come together.

The three artists involved in the project - each with his personal idiom - investigate the History of Art conceived as an area crossed by multiple forces: political ideologies, economic events, dominant historical narrations repressed by collective consciousness.

The exhibition Danh Vo - Chung ga opla follows Patrizio Di Massimo’s project The Lustful Turk (23 November – 16 December) and anticipates the solo show of Victor Man planned for the end of June 2013.

Bowditch Alphabet, 2010 - Photo Nils Klinger

This cycle of exhibitions explores the concept of Accademia in its multiple meanings interlacing historical, aesthetical and political reflections. 

Indeed, in recent years the international artistic debate has concentrated on a series of themes related to the processes of education and transmission of knowledge, the survival of ideologies of the past in the world of today and the possibility that visual art can work as an area where progress and anachronism can melt together.  Thus the concept of Accademia becomes a prism in which it is possible to manifest the opportunities and contradictions of our times in relation to tradition.  The figure of the Academy can, therefore, be explored as a physical, cultural and metaphoric site where the transmission of specific artistic knowledge bears a more complex history, consisting of a world vision which evokes, more or less explicitly, the traumas of history and the repression of ideology.

Danh Vo (1975, Saigon, Vietnam.) who lives and works in Berlin and New York, has recently  won the prestigious Hugo Boss Prize (2012). Part of the award consists in a solo exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum in New York scheduled in March 2013. Also forthcoming in 2013: solo shows of the artist at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris and at the Museion in Bolzano.  Solo exhibitions have also been dedicated to Danh Vo in prestigious institutes such as the Renaissance Society in Chicago, the National Gallery in Copenhagen, the Kunsthaus Bregenz (all in 2012); the Kunsthalle Fridericianum in Kassel (2011); the Kunsthalle Fridericianum in Kassel (2011); the Kunsthalle in Basel  (2009) and the  Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam (2008).

French Academy in Rome - Villa Medici
curated by Alessandro Rabottini
Opening 10 January 2013
h 6.30 pm - 8.30 pm 
Grandes Galeries
Viale Trinità dei Monti 1, Rome

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