Re-envisioning the Statue of Liberty

Sculptor Danh Vo deconstructs the American icon

The installation “We the people (detail)” was a deconstructed replica of the Statue of Liberty housed at an art museum in Kassel Germany. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)
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Physically, how did you go about making such a giant piece?

We were researching sites where the piece could be produced, including sites in China. Another advantage of China was that, in Asia, you still build these colossal Buddhas, and that’s basically made in this old technique of hammering the copper.

To what extent does this piece connect to your personal identity, as someone who was born in Vietnam and then moved to Germany? Was this a comment on your experience?

Of course, it’s naturally connected. That’s the structure of the art world—the subject of the work is so connected to the artist itself. Everybody is doing work from their own personal experience.

Why did you decide to split up the work and send it around the world in this way?

I don't think it’s necessary that when you build a monumental thing, it has to be in one place. It’s almost a conceptual idea—that it exists, but you never comprehend everything at once.


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