Joana Vasconcelos

1971 | Paris, France
Joana Vasconcelos — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Courtesy Joana Vasconcelos

— Studio Joana Vasconcelos

Portuguese sculptor and multimedia artist.

Following her training at the art school in Lisbon between 1989 and 1996, Joana Vasconcelos has been awarded, among others, the EDP Novos artistas prize in 2000, and the Fondation Berardo’s The Winner Takes It All prize in Lisbon in 2006. Her work, showcased during important solo and group exhibitions both in Portugal and abroad, is striking for its inventiveness, chromatic exuberance and playful appearance. Many sculptures and installations are created by accumulating mundane objects: the enormous chandelier in A Noiva (The Bride, 2001-2005) presented at the Venice Biennale in 2005, is made of thousands of sanitary pads, which, subverted from their usual function, provide an ironic view of the mechanisms of consumer society, while the title suggests a possible reference to the work of Marcel Duchamp.

The artist examines the issue of feminine identity in numerous pieces, namely through the appropriation of domestic elements, such as crochet work or saucepans and lids, with which a very large high-heel shoe was made, for example (Cinderela, 2007). This appropriation and subversion strategy also touches on pop culture, and that of Portugal in particular: thus, the sumptuous Coração independente sculptures (Independent Heart, 2004-2008) evoke hints of both fado and traditional Portuguese jewellery, while actually being made with colourful plastic lids, a modern and trivial material; in Euro-Visão (Euro-Vision, 2005), a television set, transmitting the famous pop song contest is covered with crochet place mats, which are a common household occurrence. The artist has intervened on several occasions in public places, creating several large-scale works: for Varína (2008), she collaborated with several women to complete a monumental crochet work to be hung underneath the Dom Luís I bridge, in Porto. Her work was featured in an important monographic exhibition in 2010 at the Berardo Collection Museum. In 2012, she was invited to show her work in the Palace of Versailles, but her memorable “bride” was removed from the exhibition.

Giulia Lamoni

Translated from French by Toby Cayouette.

From the Dictionnaire universel des créatrices
© 2013 Des femmes – Antoinette Fouque
© Archives of Women Artists, Research and Exhibitions
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