11 September – 2 November 2020
White Cube Bermondsey
Vo developed the exhibition at Güldenhof, his farm in east Germany where he has brought together many themes that he has been exploring over the last decade: the seduction and violence of Catholicism; the parallels between the export of Christianity and the contemporary travel of multinational brands; and the interconnected nature of life on this globe where each thing is shaped by the reflection of its inside to an outside.
Stained glass windows and religious statues inhabit plant gardens with remnants of banal packaging. Cardboard boxes have Coca Cola logos painted with gold leaf, elevated to the status once occupied by Eastern Christian icons. This disposable packaging now rendered precious, might exist in proximity to a once precious now mutilated antique statue of Madonna and Child grafted to a decapitated cherubic angel. This grafting parallels the history of horticulture in the aftermath of world conquest, hybrid plants brought together to form new often stronger genotypes.
Vo’s pastoral exhibition appeals to a basic human desire to escape or perhaps retreat. This is the Garden of Eden after the coming of knowledge, way after. Mutated, humorous, and uncanny it seems that history and biology have intertwined and created new forms. As such the exhibition smacks of nostalgia, a pastoral longing for Creation itself, but also of self-aware presentness, an ability to plant and create optimistically, searching out new forms for us to test.