Danh Võ and Ulrike Müller at Kunsthaus Bregenz
April 20, 2012
Võ, "Sanyo," 2010.
Gold on cardboard, 1330 g, Unique.
Photo: Jens Ziehe, Courtesy the artist, Galerie Isabella Bortolozzi, Berlin, and private collection.
Copyright © Danh Võ.
In his objects, installations, photographs, and works on paper Danh
Võ combines personal experiences from his childhood in Vietnam with
the story of his family, their flight to Europe, and questions of
colonialism, migration, and cultural identity. A no less important topic of
his works are same-sex relationships and, generally, a questioning of
standardized patterns of behavior both in society in general and in the art
context in particular. Over and over he succeeds in creating works of
It is not only in high-end consumer goods, however, that Danh Võ addresses the supposed attraction of the material values of the West. Products such as Coca Cola, as cited in his Bregenz exhibition in cartons with gold-leaf-printed wrappings, also tempt and hold out a promise of salvation according to the artist.
For Danh Võ, lettering, language, and work and exhibition titles
have a significant role to play and add interpretative levels. This is true
of his Bregenz exhibition:
Ulrike Müller works with a wide range of media in different contexts. On the basis of conceptual practices she engages with the sociopolitical potential of artistic activity through drawing, painting, video, sound works, and performance. A central interest is her exploration of the ambivalences of contemporary gender constructions beyond binary categorizations of identity such as man/woman, hetero/homo.
Her project Herstory Inventory, being presented for the first time at the KUB Arena, dates back to when, conducting research at the Lesbian Herstory Archives (Brooklyn, New York), the artist found an inventory list of T-shirts present in the collection. Müller subsequently invited 100 internationally known artists to translate into new pictures the lovingly detailed descriptions of the pictures and graphic elements on the T-shirts written by a volunteer at the archives.
Against the backdrop of the history of the movement, drawing becomes an act of political engagement with the historical insignia, symbols, and positions of US lesbian feminist discourse. In a wide range of styles, formats, and problematizations, the pictorial translations of the texts enact personal attitudes toward historical feminist imagery, confronting them with their queer feminist rethinking. At the same time, the drawings by artists like Amy Sillman, Linda Bilda, Cristina Gómez Barrio, and R.H. Quaytman give insight into artistic strategies of representational politics and formal invention.
In Ulrike Müller's presentation in the KUB Arena, individual and
collective gestures interweave and challenge us to think creative action
also in relation to sociopolitical issues.