"I think of preservation as the organization of attention. If it is true that we live in an attention economy, then preservation certainly influences values, but it does not assign them. Values exist only within relationships of exchange, as a measure of collective attention, or desire.
Preservation seems to me to be the result of organized attention, not its origin–although it does also in turn re-organize attention. We rarely choose what gets protected, but we receive things around which social attention has coalesced for one reason or another. These are not necessarily things that everyone likes, or even wants. "Jorge Otero-Pailos, The Ethics of Dust, 2009
For the first time at Palazzo Grassi in Venice an artist is welcomed by giving him the role of "curator": that's the role of Danh Vo, a Vietnamese artist, who is organizing the exhibition that will be opened until the end of the year at Palazzo Grassi and which is called - Punta della Dogana "Slip of the Tongue ".
Installation view at Punta della Dogana, 2015
What does "Slip of the Tongue" mean? Literally: a miscue. While the entire artistic career of Danh Vo is a mixture of photographies, personal memories, fragments and facts related to subjectivity and contextualized in everyday life, then even "Slip of the Tongue" offers a show of objects shaped by the time action which first put its mark upon them and later returned them.
Danh Vo's work - as an artist and as a curator - always faces the big history themes, from colonialism to economic imperialism, to the war experience and history of religions.
However, there is always an underlying leitmotif: the care; care intended like time caring, the care of objects. And at a macro level: the care of the entire exhibition.
Here's where the form embraces the content and the exhibition becomes both signifier and meaning of the exposed objects, which are cured - literally - by the artist himself who shows, in his pieces, the same value.
"Slip of the Tongue" is also the name of a piece of art made by Nairy Baghramian with whom Danh Vo sets a conversation; 3 installations of this artist are present in the exhibition.
Marcel Broodthaers, Armoire de cuisine, 1966-68
Nancy Spero, Codex Artaud, 1971-72
Each one of the exposed objects refers to the concept of the amount of "care" and "protection", just like the chandeliers of the Hotel Majestic's ballroom in Paris, silent witnesses of the negotiations that decided the future of Vietnam in 1975.
Moreover, the Institute of Art History by G. Cini Foundation gave to the project some precious miniatures belonging to its rich collection, all dated between 13th and 15th century.
Even the Accademia Gallery, home of the largest collection of paintings from Venezia and from Veneto region, lent a piece of art made by the Venetian painter Giovanni Bellini. In the name of this collaboration, Danh Vo lent his Self-Portrait of 2005 to the Accademia Gallery in return.
Nairy Baghramian, French Curve, 2014
Courtesy Galerie Buchholz, Berlin and Kurimanzutto
Città del Messico
Ph: Matteo De Fina