Joana Vasconcelos

“The nature of Joana Vasconcelos’ creative process is based on the appropriation, decontextualisation and subversion of pre-existent objects and everyday realities. Sculptures and installations, which are revealing of an acute sense of scale and mastery of colour, as well as the recourse to performances and video or photographic records, all combine in the materialization of concepts which challenge the pre-arranged routines of the quotidian. Starting out from ingenious operations of displacement, a reminiscence of the ready-made and the grammars of Nouveau Réalisme and pop, the artist offers us a complicit vision, but one which is at the same time critical of contemporary society and the several features which serve the enunciations of collective identity, especially those that concern the status of women, class distinction or national identity. From this process there derives a speech which is attentive to contemporary idiosyncrasies, where the dichotomies of hand-crafted/industrial, private/public, tradition/modernity and popular culture/erudite culture are imbued with affinities that are apt to renovate the usual fluxes of signification which are characteristic of contemporaneity.”

Via the Artist’s website





Piano Dentelle, 2008-2011

Steingraeber & Söhne baby grand piano, piano stool, handmade cotton crochet

100 x 150 x 206 cm

A grand piano and the stool which accompanies it are harmoniously covered with delicate crochet-work, with an almost kinetic and psychedelic effect, reflecting and reinterpreting, in the light of contemporaneity, concepts and practices which have fallen out of use. The use of a traditionally feminine work technique in the action of protecting, decorating and covering the whole of a musical instrument surpasses old-fashioned concepts and affirms the validity of the meeting between the traditional and the contemporary, the popular and the erudite.


via the artist’s website 




MARILYN (PA), 2011

Stainless steel pans and lids, concrete
(2x) 290 x 157 x 410 cm


The Hall of Mirrors, where sumptuous ceremonies and important events in the history of France were staged, hosts Marilyn, an elegant pair of high-heeled sandals, whose enlarged scale results from the repeated use of stainless steel pans and lids.

Verging toward gigantism, this accumulation creates a Gulliver effect, making the work stand in this vast hall as an ode to womens’ achievements both on the public and private spheres. The stainless steel in Marilyn – resistant like the armours of the warriors who fought in the Dutch War (1672-1678) and in the War of Devolution (1667-1668), Charles Le Brun’s subject matters for his ceiling paintings and medallions – and the mirrors that decorate the arcade team up in a disconcerting game of reflections, multiplying the space ad infinitum.

Positioned at the south end of Hall of Mirrors, the monumental pair of sandals refers the visitor to the accomplishments of the absent female figure, as grandiose as the glories celebrated by Louis XIV through the paintings of Le Brun, now reflected on Marilyn’s cold metallic surface.


via Seomi 





2014, Machester Art Gallery via Port Magazine



2014, Machester Art Gallery via Port Magazine

“On the north wall of a large room, on the first floor of Manchester Art Gallery,hangs ‘The Sirens and Ulysses’ (1837) by William Etty. It’s a large-scale nude, classic in every sense of the word. Adjacent to it sits an enormous, multi-coloured crochet breast (‘Big Booby #2’, 2011), inspired by ‘Allo! ‘Allo!, the risqué British sitcom set in Nazi-occupied France. “I Love ‘Allo! ‘Allo! says the latter’s creator Joana Vasconcelos. “They’re always trying to find ‘the Madonna with the big boobies’. This is my big booby. Finally I’ve found the right place to show it.”Time Machine, the new exhibition by the Portuguese artist, her largest in the UK to date, is full of these juxtapositions. Through the use of traditional Portuguese techniques and materials – crochet, lace, ceramics – she seeks to debunk the rigid pomposity of fine art, creating informal public art spaces. Contaminate is a dirty word, it conjures images of beef burgers minus the beef, or jars of dubious-looking drinking water scooped from murky rivers in developing countries, but that’s what she does.”




A Noiva (The Bride) by Portuguese artist Joana Vasconcelos, Venice Biennale 2005

The Bride is one of her most famous works. Taking the form of an 18th-century candelabra, it is made entirely of white tampons. Five meters high and over two meters in diameter.




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