The Danish artist of Vietnamese origin presents a diptych made in collaboration with his father Phung Vo. One of the prints uses two lines from the poem Llanto por Ignacio Sánchez Mejías by Federico García Lorca, the great Spanish poet of the 20th century. In the poem, García Lorca laments with deep sorrow the death of his friend Sánchez Mejías, the famous bullfighter who died due to a bull goring.
The participation of the artist is a strong gesture of support to cultural diversity and the right for minorities to preserve their traditions. The selection of the poem by García Lorca, who was murdered on August 19, 1939, at hands of the conservatives from the Acción Popular political party, is a pretext to remember the atrocities committed by totalitarian regimes at a moment when the world continues to witness the ressurgence of authoritarian governments and inflamed nationalism.
The collaboration between Danh Vo and his father is emblematic of the artist’s practice. For years, the artist instructed Phung Vo to execute numerous pieces in calligraphy based on fragments of texts ranging from monumental representations to copies of intimate letters from historical figures. Phung Vo learned calligraphy in Vietnam before going into exile in Denmark. After moving to Denmark, he used this skill to copy menus and signs for family businesses despite not fully understanding western languages. Danh Vo defines his father's ability as an essentially aesthetic gesture rather than a linguistic one, since the creation of these letters has more to do with drawing than with writing. The artist considers his father's calligraphy as an “act of pure labor,” and in using the calligraphy in his own work, he reconfigures the notion of authorship.
In asking Dan Vo to make the poster for the 2022 bullfighting festival, the Real Maestranza de Caballería de Sevilla emphasizes their conviction to continue the connection between tradition and contemporary creation.