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Danh Vo, vue de l’exposition "Take My Breath Away" au SMK — National Gallery of Denmark, Copenhagen, 2015
Isamu Noguchi / Danh Vo

New Production

Continuing the programme of exhibitions specifically conceived for the unique architectural context of the Henry J. and Erna D. Leir Pavilion, Mudam Luxembourg – Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean presents an installation that instigates a dialogue between the work of Isamu Noguchi (b. 1904, Los Angeles; d. 1988, New York), a major figure in modern art, and that of the contemporary artist Danh Vo (b. 1975, Bà Rịa, Vietnam), who is a leading figure within his generation.

This new installation conceived by Vo further develops a body of work created for the 2018 exhibitions in the M+ Pavilion in Hong Kong (Noguchi for Danh Vo: Counterpoint) and the National Gallery of Denmark in Copenhagen (Danh Vo. Take My Breath Away). It includes an installation of Noguchi’s iconic Akari lamps and a new ‘botanical’ installation by Vo composed of new marble and wood sculptures inspired by Noguchi’s sculptural intelligence. Conceived as a work that is sensitive to the changing natural light conditions throughout the day and across the four seasons during the exhibition, the installation makes light a life source for plants and an immaterial phenomenon given sculptural form in Noguchi lamps. Vo’s installation, created with indigenous plants and in collaboration with local gardeners, will evolve over the course of the year.

Since the early 2000s Vo has created a precise and poetically compelling oeuvre that interweaves personal stories and little-known events with broader political, social and historical issues and exploring the processes that shape identities. His work typically take the form of installations that involve the careful arrangement of objects and artefacts from different cultural contexts examining their symbolic significance and evocative power, in a close and conscious relationship with space. Vo also regularly incorporates works by other artists, such as Noguchi, highlighting their importance and legacy for artists today.

From the 1930s until his death in 1988, Noguchi created a body of sculpture that is characterised by streamlined, organic and abstract forms. His work is heavily influenced by artistic heritages from the Asian-Pacific region and draws upon materials that embodied close links with nature. Embracing various disciplines, his oeuvre includes designs for landscape architecture as well as furniture and other objects. His Akari lamps, made with washi paper and directly inspired by the tradition of Gifu lanterns, originate from 1951. They are veritable ‘sculptures of light’ that forge links between tradition and modernity. The Japanese word Akari denotes both light and weightlessness. In the words of Noguchi, ‘the magic of paper transforms the cold electricity in the original light – the sun – so that its warmth can continue to fill our bedrooms at night.’

Biographies

Isamu Noguchi (b. 1904, Los Angeles; d. 1988, New York) is a major figure in the history of twentieth century sculpture. Influenced by his mentor, Constantin Brâncuși (b. 1876, Hobita, Roumania; d. 1957, Paris), by the abstract forms of Jean Arp (b. 1886, Strasbourg; d. 1966, Basel) and by Japanese Zen gardens, Noguchi created sculpture, furniture, set designs and ceramics that concentrate modernism and abstraction, lyricism and expressiveness. Integrating Japanese aesthetics with Western modernism, he pursued a lifetime of artistic experimentation that encompassed various disciplines including art, design, theatre, and architecture. Noguchi did not belong to any precise movement, but he collaborated with a wide range of artists from all artistic fields. His first retrospective was presented at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City in 1968. He represented the United States at the 42th Venice Biennale (1986). His work is held in numerous public collections worldwide and in the Noguchi Museum, New York. Most recently, his works have been the subject of exhibitions at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, Connecticut (2020); Cameron Art Museum, Wilmington, North Carolina (2020); M+ Pavilion, Hong Kong (2019); Yokohama Museum of Art, Yokohama (2019), the Kagawa Museum, Takamatsu (2018); Museo Tamayo, Mexico City (2016).

Danh Vo (b. 1975, Bà Rịa, Vietnam) has held solo exhibitions at National Museum of Art, Osaka (2020); the Winsing Arts Foundation, Taipei (2020); the South London Gallery, London (2019); Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2018); M+ Museum, Hong Kong (2018); National Gallery of Denmark, Copenhagen (2018) and Museum Ludwig, Cologne (2015). He was awarded the Arken Art Prize (2015); the Hugo Boss Prize (2012) and the blauorange – Kunstpreis der Deutschen Volksbanken und Raiffeisenbanken (2007). In 2015 Vo represented Denmark at the 56th Venice Biennale. The same year, he curated the exhibition Slip of the Tongue at the Punta della Dogana – François Pinault Foundation, Venice. He lives and works in Berlin and Mexico City.

Credits

Location:
Henry J. and Erna D. Leir Pavilion
Curators:
  • Suzanne Cotter and Clément Minighetti, assisted by Clémentine Proby