Danh Vo | CAPC

Sometimes an artist meets a space and both sides lift their game a little. That was the case, for me at least, when looking at Viethamese-born, German-trained artist Danh Vo’s takeover of the main hall of CAPC in Bordeaux. This former storage warehouse, in previous decades filled with the spoils of empire, now hosts a site-specific installation from the descendents of an imperial subject.

The huge space is dominated by big blocks of Ferrara marble: the very raw material beloved by Pope-impressing Renaissance sculptors (can you think of one in particular?) To hammer home the point, framed photos of various Michelangelo hands - David, a Medici - are mounted on the rough blocks.

Installation view

Clearly, Vo is interested in the inchoate state, the ‘before’ stage, or maybe what’s natural rather than man-made. This is underlined by other exhibits in the hall: a strip of industrial metal shelving, loaded with artefacts, and a mirrored room which gives visitors a highly unenjoyable view of themselves under harsh overhead lighting.

Maybe that’s an extension of Vo’s point. The blocks of marble are the most beautiful things; the human, and the works of humanity, have rather more variable results.

Danh Vo is at CAPC (Bordeaux). 19 May - 28 October 2018