Danh Vo - 20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Evening Sale Hong Kong Saturday, November 25, 2017 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Kurimanzutto Gallery, Mexico
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    An artist whose work has often been described as ‘haunting’, ‘beautiful’ and ‘spiritual’ by many a critic and curator, Danh Vo’s oeuvre has been defined by his exploration of identity, culture and heritage - not only within himself, but also in the world around him. Wielding a creative psyche that has roots in Vietnam, but developed in Denmark and later honed in Germany, Vo is the embodiment of a global, modern artist.

    Drawing inspiration from his travels to Spain, where he purveyed that “all this information existed within the idea of beer brands, and it was obvious for me to want to work with them because it was so perverse” (Danh Vo, 2014), Vo juxtaposes opulence and austerity by placing gold leaf onto found cardboard boxes of the Mexican beer, Pacífico. Hosting an uneasy relationship between ownership and possession, the artist imbues the work with palpable intimacy by allowing the impressions of those involved in its process of creation to be laid bare – from the factory labourers who fabricated the cardboard, to Vo’s very own delicate application of the gold leaf. The inclusion of such a material perhaps functions as a satirical homage to his Vietnamese heritage, as in South East Asian culture, gold leaf is predominantly used to adorn sanctified or religious objects.

    In the present lot, socio-political dialogues are centrifugal to understanding its interpretations and context. Vo challenges our preconceptions about a common proponent of consumerism and human indulgence through its reappropriation, and therefore invites us to discover its true meaning through personal interactions. Transposed against the backdrop of an often Eurocentric yet interconnected global society, the artist uses the unassuming beer packaging to question the concept of self-sufficient or dominant cultures, while dissecting the realities of value, labour and identity with subtle, yet profound nuances.

    Danh Vo is a winner of the Guggenheim Foundation’s prestigious Hugo Boss Award, and has held solo exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Musee d’Art Moderne in Paris, and the Marian Goodman Gallery in London.



gold leaf on Mexican beer cardboard box
48.3 x 133.4 cm. (19 x 52 1/2 in.)
Executed in 2013.

HK$800,000 - 1,200,000 

Sold for HK$937,500

Contact Specialist
Jonathan Crockett
Deputy Chairman, Asia and Head of 20th Century & Contemporary Art, Asia
+852 2318 2023

Sandy Ma
Specialist, Head of Evening Sale
+852 2318 2025

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20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Evening Sale

Hong Kong Auction 26 November 2017