Joana Vasconcelos

Learn about the artist's universe through a text accompanied by a selection of works from the exhibition “All I want – Portuguese women artists from 1900 to 2020”

By Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation

Text by Lígia Afonso / Plano Nacional das Artes

The Bride (2001/2005) by Joana VasconcelosOriginal Source: Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Elvas – Collection António Cachola

The work of Joana Vasconcelos plays with stereotypes and clichés, bringing together ostensibly opposing categorisations – popular and erudite, traditional and contemporary, kitsch and classical, public and private, humour and criticism. Confronting such dichotomies often lies at the root of her work.

The Bride (2001/2005) by Joana VasconcelosOriginal Source: Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Elvas – Collection António Cachola

The Bride, 2001-2005 
OB tampons, stainless steel, cotton thread, steel cables
600 x ø 300 cm
Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Elvas – Collection António Cachola, inv. 07.E.6

Wash and goOriginal Source: Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Elvas – Collection António Cachola

Her sculptures are spectacular, monumental and baroque, expressing exuberant movement, sound, light and colour, sometimes as a cumulative effect. Vasconcelos’ usual practice is to repeatedly juxtapose identical objects to create a new object. The resulting displacement of meaning and the sense of surprise give rise to new narratives and meanings.

Wash and goOriginal Source: Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Elvas – Collection António Cachola

Wash and go, 1998
Tights, iron, crimped wire mesh, motor and timer
150 x 210 x 80 cm
Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Elvas – Collection António Cachola, inv. 07.E.5

Wash and goOriginal Source: Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Elvas – Collection António Cachola

Brush me (1999) by Joana VasconcelosOriginal Source: Museu de Arte Contemporânea da Madeira, Calheta

The use of pots, cutlery, mirrors, doilies, tights, gems, flowers and feathers – all everyday objects associated with the feminine sphere amid a culture that is essentially patriarchal – raises questions about dominance, subjugation and the invisibility of gender.

Brush me (1999) by Joana VasconcelosOriginal Source: Museu de Arte Contemporânea da Madeira, Calheta

Brush me, 1999
Chrome iron, wood and brushes
100 x 70 x 40 cm
Museu de Arte Contemporânea da Madeira, Calheta, inv. MACM/JV01ESC

China cupboard (2019) by Joana VasconcelosOriginal Source: Collection of the Artist

Some of the pieces make reference to popular Portuguese culture, especially the fado singing of Amália Rodrigues, filigree hearts from Viana, the Barcelos cockerel, pottery from Caldas da Rainha and crochetwork from Pico. The artist celebrates the collective imagery of such national symbolism and acknowledges the value of the practices, techniques, materials, traditions and rituals involved.

China cupboard (2019) by Joana VasconcelosOriginal Source: Collection of the Artist

China cupboard, 2019
Felt pen, print, collage on paper
50 x 74 cm
Collection of the Artist, inv. JV01618

Credits: Story

Selection of works presented at the exhibition All I want: Portuguese women artists from 1900 to 2020, in its first moment at Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, Lisbon, within the scope of the cultural program that takes place in parallel to the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union 2021.

Exhibition organized by the Portuguese Ministry of Culture, Directorate-General for Cultural Heritage (DGPC) and the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, in co-production with the Center of Contemporary Creation Olivier Debré, Tours, and with the collaboration of the Plano Nacional das Artes (Portugal).

Curators:
Helena de Freitas and Bruno Marchand


Text by Lígia Afonso / Plano Nacional das Artes
Selection of online resources Maria de Brito Matias


Learn more about Joana Vasconcelos's works presented in the context of this exhibition:
All I want: Vernacular Life

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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