Lot 2
  • 2

Danh Vo

100,000 - 150,000 GBP
314,500 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Danh Vo
  • Numbers (9)
  • signed and titled on the reverse 
  • gold leaf on unfolded cardboard box


Private Collection, Europe

Acquired directly from the above by the present owner 

Catalogue Note

"As a child, Danh Vo fled from Vietnam with his family by sea in an attempt to reach America, but their homemade boat was diverted to Denmark... [his] works reflect the scattered shapers of his selfhood. They also show a former refugee who recognises art-making as a kind of statelessness, one that precipitates poetics from a restless traversing of cultural spheres." 

Martin Herbert, 'Danh Vo' in: Max Andrews, Steven Cairns, Chris Fite-Wassilak, et al., Frieze Art Fair: London 2013, 2013, n.p. 

Danh Vo is an artist whose personal history is inextricable from his work. Born in Vietnam in 1975, the year that marked the end of the American War, his family became victims of the Cambodian-Vietnamese conflict that broke out immediately
afterwards. Fleeing the country by sea, when the artist was four, with hopes of reaching America, his family ultimately settled in Denmark. Vo’s conceptual oeuvre is filled with themes of displaced identity, immigration, colonisation and global communication.

Numbers (9) is a two metre vision of shimmering gold leaf with the figure ‘9’ stamped out of the middle, to reveal an unfolded cardboard box beneath. The present work creates a dialogue between fine art and everyday throwaway material. To create these works, Vo collects used consumer packaging from Vietnam and applies gold leaf to the surface. The mixture between the gold leaf and the consumer goods packaging also serves to heighten the idealisation of the commercial and commoditised life in the West. 

Much like the Alphabet series produced a year earlier, which is a reference to the Bowditch alphabet, the number nine can be seen as the introduction and useage of the Arabic Number system into everyday life. This numeric system is the most common representation in the world today. Like the use of the Bowditch alphabet, the numbers are a statement on a more globalised world in constant communication.