Danh Vo at the Danish Pavilion 2015

Danh Vo's exhibition mothertongue was shown at the Danish Pavilion at the Venice Biennale.

Pictures from the exhibition mothertongue. Photo: Nick Ash. Pictures from the official Opening of the Pavilion and Reception at Chiostro di Sant' Apollonia on 7. May 2015. Photo: Rikke Bjørnbøl.  


The Danish Pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale was created by Danish-Vietnamese artist Danh Vo, who's exhibition mothertongue combined materials and objects across time and space. Working with the relative positions of the artworks in the pavilion he emphasized how meaning, material and decisions can be put into dialogue. 

According to Danh Vo the exhibition drew specifically on the material traces of cultural exchange and trade left behind throughout history: “As we are in Venice, I wanted to structure the exhibition around the idea of all these journeys: >discovery of America, exploration of space, trade with China. All these itineraries that are connected in weird ways, often out of simple practicalities. There is just something beautiful about the material trail left behind by all these fallen Empires. In a way, the exhibition is a kind of travel through various time periods and cultures. This is an important point when one is in a position of national representation: that’s the moment when you have to make a statement that culture is not native; culture is cross-pollination, cross-contamination. It’s not only geography but time too.”

Danh Vo also decided to restore the pavilion to its original materials bringing forward the architectural intentions of the original architects. Door and window frames was renovated so the original Burmese teak was once again visible. And all artificial light was removed, so the pavilion was only lit by natural daylight.

Danh Vo

Danh Vo has studied at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts and at Städelschule in Frankfurt. He has had solo exhibitions at Museo Jumex, Mexico City (2014),Musée d'art moderne de la Ville de Paris (2013), the Art Institute of Chicago (2012), Kunsthaus Bregenz, Austria (2012), Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen (2010), Kunsthalle Basel, Switzerland (2009) and Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2008). His work was included in the 55th Venice Biennale (2013) in the main exhibition titled “The Encyclopedic Palace”. He has received the Hugo Boss Prize (2012), and the BlauOrange Kunstpreis der Deutschen Volksbanken und Raiffeisen Bank, Berlin (2007). And he was shortlisted for The National Gallery Prize for Young Art, Berlin, in 2009. 

Danish Arts Foundation and Venice Biennale

The Danish Arts Foundation's Committee for Visual Arts Project Funding is responsible for and funds Denmark’s participation at the Venice Biennale. The Committee for Visual Arts Project Funding consists of Gitte Ørskou (Chair), Lilibeth Cuenca Rasmussen, Bodil Nielsen, Jacob Tækker and Claus Andersen. 

“Danh Vo is one of the most important and innovative figures on the international art scene,” said the Danish Arts Foundation's Committee for Visual Arts Project Funding, who selected the Danish-Vietnamese artist to represent Denmark. “Our ambition for the pavilion is to present the most outstanding Danish art in an international context. Therefore, the choice naturally fell on the artist, Danh Vo, who, in his striking and poetic work connects a strong personal inspiration with historical and political dimensions,” as Gitte Ørskou, Chair of the Committee for Visual Arts Project Funding, said. 

Curators: Marianne Torp and Tine Vindfeld.
Assistant Curator: Amy Zion.




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