Between 2010 and 2014, Danh Vo made replicas of almost 300 pieces of the Statue of Liberty. These 1:1 scale fragments will never be assembled or presented at the same time; each piece is a sculpture in itself, independent of the whole. A gift of France to the United States in 1884, Lady Liberty has become one of the most recognizable cultural symbols of the 20th century, but seeing it fragmented and up close allows us to encounter it differently, as though it were a ruin of antiquity. We the people was created in Shanghai using the same method the French used, shaping each sheet of copper with hammer blows. Each sheet is the same width as two 5 cent coins. In the words of the artist, “this colossal icon … turns out to be very fragile.” The title of the work refers to the first sentence of the American Constitution, three words that allude to the role of people as a collective in the formation of democracy. With this project, Vo reflects on the concept of freedom and how symbols become carriers of certain values and notions.
Image: Courtesy of the artist and kurimanzutto, Mexico City / New York