Trapped in heaven by Danh Vo
Trapped in heaven, a sculptural calligraphic curtain, is the latest collaboration between Kvadrat and artist Danh Vo. Danh Vo and Kvadrat presents the new curtains in his Berlin home to experience a thought-provoking installation comprising different expressions of the curtain.
Trapped in heaven is coinciding with the launch of Kvadrat Limited: a new platform for limited edition textiles created in collaboration with renowned artists, creating the opportunity for people to buy a piece of art made by their favourite artist for their private home and commercial spaces. This follows the company’s successful explorations in materiality and space with over 80 art installations with artist and art institutions around the world over the past two decades.
Trapped in heaven by Danh Vo is the first edition to be launched as part of this series.
At launch, the collection will come in a standard version in white and three limited-edition colourways. Danh Vo’s inspiration for these was the ‘echo of colour, like a memory’ he encountered in the shadow of a walnut tree at his summer house. Reflecting this, the hues for the limited versions of the curtain mimic the poetic softness of the flowers and wood and the vibrant freshness of spring leaves.
Trapped in heaven is intimately related to one of Danh Vo’s most profound works, which involved his father, Phung Vo, hand-copying a loving farewell letter from missionary and French Saint Théophane Vénard to his own father in 1861. Théophane Vénard wrote the melancholic yet serene letter while awaiting execution for heresy in a Vietnamese prison.
When Danh Vo visited Théophane Vénard’s birthplace in an old country home in rural France, he discovered a quote on the wall: “Tout cela qui t’empêche de partir, tout cela est ton ennemi” (All that prevents you from leaving, all that is your enemy). This text, which captures the spirit of sacrifice behind the saint’s martyrdom, is woven in bold calligraphy on Trapped in heaven. It suggests that matters of the flesh, friends and family, virtues, and vices must give way before a divinely appointed journey. At the same time, it recalls the missionary’s mesmerising letter and the work it inspired. The artist, in pursuit of aesthetics, puts his father to work. The father, in pursuit of his God, turns that work into a form of prayer.”
A sophisticated double-woven construction infuses Trapped in heaven with rich tactility and subtle transparency. The letters on the curtain are jacquard woven as pockets on a single-layered background. Consequently, as it drapes luxuriously in the light, a delicate moiré effect plays within the calligraphy. It can be hung vertically and horizontally. The curtain is woven with a high volume of recycled polyester, transforming industrial waste into a multidimensional fire-retardant textile. Ultimately, Trapped in heaven, like Théophane Vénard’s evocative letter, brings a contemplative, serene quality to a space. Those who encounter it find a strikingly beautiful sculptural presence — half light, half form— which invites consideration of an existential, timeless question: what is worth sacrificing everything for?
For more images or information, please contact:
Trendgruppen PR, Helena Walfridsson
Phone: + 46 73 663 76 12
About Danh Vo
A Danish citizen who was born in Vietnam in 1975, Vo is a graduate of the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts and the Städelschule in Frankfurt. He has received the Hugo Boss Prize international art award and has presented solo shows worldwide. Recent examples include La Bourse de Commerce, Paris (2023); Secession, Vienna (2021); National Gallery of Osaka, Japan (2020); South London Gallery, London (2019); M+, Hong Kong (2018); CAPC, Bordeaux (2018); the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2018); Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid (2015-16); Museum Ludwig, Cologne (2015) and Museo Jumex, Mexico City (2014). In 2015 he represented Denmark at the Venice Biennale.
Kvadrat was established in Denmark in 1968 and has deep roots in Scandinavia’s design tradition. Kvadrat continuously works to expand the aesthetic, technological, and artistic boundaries of the use of textiles through a long series of collaborations with some of the world’s best designers, architects, and artists, including Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, Patricia Urquiola, Pipilotti Rist, Thomas Demand, Olafur Eliasson, Alfredo Häberli, Doshi Levien, Akira Minagawa, Vincent van Duysen and Peter Saville.
Art projects include amongst others: Pipilotti Rist at Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Copenhagen (2019), Dahn Vo at the National Gallery (SMK), Copenhagen (2018), Roman Signer at the Kvadrat headquarters in Ebeltoft (2009 & 2016) Pipilotti Rist at New Museum, New York (2016); Philippe Parreno at Tate Modern, London (2016); Joana Vasconscelos, ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum (2016); Goshka Macuga at Fondazione Prada, Milan (2016); Jesper Just at Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2015); Shilpa Gupta at la Biennale di Venezia, Venice (2015); Günther Vogt and Olafur Eliasson at Kvadrat Headquarters, Ebeltoft (2012); and Thomas Demand at Städel Museum’s Metzler Hall, Frankfurt (2011).
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