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.