Danh Vo presents St. Katharina

From May 1, 2024, you will be able to admire the St. Katharina sculpture in The Nivaagaard Collection's Station Garden at Nivå Station. Here, she will discreetly watch over Nivå from an old tree on the property, providing rest for birds and comfort for those in need. Danh Vo's work connects with visitors, the garden's biodiversity and the area’s unique nature.

Internationally renowned Danish-Vietnamese artist Danh Vo (b. 1975) uses his artistic practice to hunt for stories and artifacts of the past and present, which he uses or transforms into stories. Such is the case with this old wooden saint figurine from the 17th century, which he acquired several years ago and hung in a tree in his own garden in Güldenhof, Germany. He later turned it into a home for birds by drilling a hole into the sculpture's cavity and adding a plank.

According to legend, St, Katharina of Alexandria was martyred in the 4th century. She later became a muse for Joan of Arc and along with three other saints, she is one of the Catholic Relief Workers that people have prayed to in times of sorrow or need.

Now Danh Vo has the reworked sculpture cast in bronze and installed it in Nivå as the first outsider to occupy the Station Garden since the museum acquired the site in 2021. In a close collaboration with Danh Vo, who grew up in Nivå, the museum wanted to reaffirm its connection with the city, not with a traditional sculpture but with a plot of land that will change over time.

At Vo's request, for the past few years the site has been set aside as a biodiverse area, while the project has been simmering away in his mind under the motto You can't hurry a sprout. More recently, the garden has gained insect-friendly natural fencing, beehives and served as the setting for courses in biodiversity. In the same unobtrusive spirit, the St. Katharina sculpture will blend in beautifully with the garden’s plant life, and help accentuate its aura as a place that is peaceful and untouched. The sculpture is unsigned.

Danh Vo, Station Garden and The Nivaagaard Collection

Andy Warhol reportedly said that the most beautiful work of art is to own a piece of land and not destroy it. Danh Vo is another artist who likes to celebrate nature. For Vo, nature is a way of thinking and a way of being in the world. In recent years, nature has gradually taken over his work as an artist, while he has immersed himself in the resources of nature and cultivated the garden on his farm at Güldenhof in Germany.

Johannes Hage, the founder of the Collection, wanted to ensure that the area surrounding Nivå would be a protected nature reserve and that the beautiful park by the museum would be open to the public around the clock. In keeping with this spirit, the museum acquired the Station Garden, an empty plot of land next to Nivå Station, with support from the Obel Family Foundation and as part of its longstanding collaboration with Danh Vo. Under the title of: Danh Vo Presents, Vo has showcased exhibitions at the museum, and as part of the Station Garden's initiatives, he has also established a potato field with the city's citizens and the podcast series You can't rush a sprout. With the acquisition of the Station Garden, The Nivaagaard Collection has committed an artist to leaving his mark on his childhood town.

The sculpture is financed by the New Carlsberg Foundation.

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