Danh Vo: Chicxulub review – art from the Garden of Eden to the end of the world

White Cube Bermondsey, London
Ancient sculptures combine with plants and human limbs in Vō’s pastoral yet troubling art for the apocalypse

It is just a year since Danh Vo’s two interrelated London exhibitions. Now he is back in the city with a show whose tenor is quieter, more reflective, somehow almost pastoral: except that the disquiet in Vō’s art never goes away.

Partway through the current exhibition I found myself on my hands and knees, surrounded by huge felt tubs and ad-hoc, artful planters filled with grasses, ferns and other plants I mostly couldn’t identify, the smell of damp loam in my nose. Among all this unexpected greenery I was trying to look inside a glass-walled refrigerator unit within which a pair of legs dangle, one foot crossed over the other in the position of the crucified Christ. On top of this unit, in a second vitrine, sits a Greco-Roman marble male torso. From a distance, legs and torso seem to form a single headless figure. The legs look unnervingly like refrigerated human body parts. Flesh or not flesh? Up close, I discover that the toenails are gilded in gold. Later, I learn that the legs are cast from Vō’s partner. The work is called Beauty Queen.

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