b. 1971, France

Joana Vasconcelos Biography

Joana Vasconcelos is a French-Portuguese sculptor and multimedia artist known for her large-scale installations that demonstrate a feminist perspective and comment on cultural tradition and consumerism.

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Vasconcelos incorporates everyday objects and materials into her practice by weaving and crocheting them into her sculptures. Her use of intricate craft skills examines the changing relationship between art and domestic labour in the 21st century.

Early Years

Joana Vasconcelos was born in Paris, France in 1971. She studied art at Ar.Co – Centro de Arte e Comunicação Visual in Lisbon between 1989 and 1996.

During the mid 1990s, Vasconcelos began to exhibit regularly in her homeland Portugal. She contributed to national biennales including the Bienal de Arte AIP in Santa Maria da Feira in 1996 and 1998, and the 7ª Bienal Internacional de Escultura e Desenho in Caldas da Rainha in 1997.

Shortly after graduating from Ar.Co, Vasconcelos was awarded the EDP Novos Artistas Prize 2000. She continued to exhibit work throughout Portugal and soon began exhibiting internationally.

Artworks

Joana Vasconcelos' practice toys with the appropriation and de-contextualisation of everyday objects and realities. Her work is usually site-specific and includes performance components that encourage viewers to physically engage with her sculptures.

The Bride (A Noiva) (2001–05)

The Bride (A Noiva) (2001–05) is one of Vasconcelos' most famous artworks. For this sculpture, the artist designed a twenty-foot high chandelier that replaced the structure's traditional crystal adornments with cotton tampons. By swapping crystals for tampons, Vasconcelos constructs a powerful metaphor for femininity in the contemporary.

Joana Vasconcelos Versailles (2012)

In 2012, Vasconcelos was invited to exhibit her work at the Palace of Versailles in France. The exhibition made Vasconcelos the first woman and the youngest artist to show her work at the château's annual contemporary art exhibition.

In this exhibition, Vasconcelos explores the mythology and grandeur of Versailles while transporting it into the contemporary. Her sculpture, Marilyn (2009), presents an oversized pair of high heel shoes made from stainless steel saucepans and their lids. By merging a domestic object with the romantic and elegant symbol of high heels, Vasconcelos references the private and public roles women are often expected to play in society.

Public Commissions

In 2018, Vasconcelos was commissioned to design a permanent installation for part of the extension of the T3 tramline in Paris. Titled Coeur de Paris, Vasconcelos' artwork is made up of nearly 4000 tiles and includes lights that turn on and off to the rhythm of a beating heart.

Awards and Accolades

Vasconcelos has exhibited work at the Venice Biennale in Italy in 2005, 2011, 2013 and 2015. In 2013, Vasconcelos transformed an old Lisbon ferryboat into a floating installation for the Portuguese Pavilion at the biennale. In 2015, she designed an installation of artificial flowers made from optical fibres woven together. Titled Garden of Eden, this installation was made for the temporary Swatch Pavilion in the Giardini.

In 2013, she was awarded the Contemporary Art Prize by the Association des Amis Français du Musée d'Art de Tel Aviv, Israel.

In 2018, Vasconcelos was invited to present a retrospective exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain. Joana Vasconcelos. I'm Your Mirror featured 30 works representing nearly 25 years of her artistic career. Vasconcelos was the only Portuguese artist to have been awarded a retrospective at the Guggenheim.

Vasconcelos' artwork is included in the collections of ARoS Aarhus Art Museum in Aarhus, the Caldic Collection in Rotterdam, Museu Coleção Berardo in Lisbon and the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington.

Exhibitions

Joana Vasconcelos has exhibited widely in both group shows and solo shows.

Selected solo exhibitions include I Want to Break Free, Musée d'Art Moderne et Contemporain, Strasbourg (2018-19); Joana Vasconcelos. I'm Your Mirror, Museo Guggenheim, Bilbao (2018); Joana Vasconcelos à Peyrassol, Commanderie de Peyrassol, Flassans-sur-Issole (2017); Joana Vasconcelos - Textures of Life, ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum, Aarhus (2016); Joana Vasconcelos: Material World, Phillips, London (2015); Joana Vasconcelos: Casarão, Casa Triângulo, São Paulo (2014); Joana Vasconcelos Versailles, Château de Versailles, Versailles (2012); Joana Vasconcelos: Ponto de Encontro, Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Serralves, Porto (2000).

Selected group exhibitions include Whatever Happened to My Grandmother's Doggy, Mimmo Scognamiglio Artecontemporanea, Milan (2018–19); Summer Exhibition 2018, Royal Academy of Arts, London (2018); Entangled: Threads and Making, Turner Contemporary, Margate (2017); Revival, National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington (2017); Portugal Portugueses – Arte Contemporânea, Museu Afro Brasil, São Paulo (2016–17); Strangers in the Night, '13th Mostra Portuguesa', Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid (2015–16); Reigning Cats and Dogs, Rena Bransten Gallery, San Francisco (2014).

Galleries

Paragon Gallery in London, Mimmo Scognamiglio Artecontemporanea in Milan and La Patinoire Royale – Galerie Valérie Bach in Brussels represent Joana Vasconcelos.

Website

Joana Vasconcelos' website can be found here.

Phoebe Bradford | Ocula | 2021

Joana Vasconcelos Featured Artworks

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Rosalinda by Joana Vasconcelos contemporary artwork sculpture, textile
Joana Vasconcelos Rosalinda, 2019 Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro faience painted with ceramic glaze, Azores crocheted lace
25 x 55 x 125 cm
Mimmo Scognamiglio Artecontemporanea Contact Gallery
Ponti by Joana Vasconcelos contemporary artwork sculpture, textile
Joana Vasconcelos Ponti, 2019 Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro faience painted with ceramic glaze, handmade cotton crochet
13 x 39 x 34 cm
Mimmo Scognamiglio Artecontemporanea Contact Gallery
Benigni by Joana Vasconcelos contemporary artwork sculpture
Joana Vasconcelos Benigni, 2017 Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro acrylic painted faience, tatting
82 x 31 x 60 cm
Mimmo Scognamiglio Artecontemporanea Contact Gallery
Isis by Joana Vasconcelos contemporary artwork works on paper
Joana Vasconcelos Isis, 2017 Acrylic felt on paper
50 x 50 cm
La Patinoire Royale – galerie Valérie Bach Contact Gallery
Flâneur 2 by Joana Vasconcelos contemporary artwork mixed media
Joana Vasconcelos Flâneur 2, 2016 88 x 60 x 54 cm La Patinoire Royale – galerie Valérie Bach Contact Gallery
Ria Formosa by Joana Vasconcelos contemporary artwork print
Joana Vasconcelos Ria Formosa, 2017 Etching with blockprinting and hand colouring
80 x 101.5 cm
Paragon Contact Gallery
Florence Nightingale by Joana Vasconcelos contemporary artwork sculpture
Joana Vasconcelos Florence Nightingale, 2014 Viuva Lamego hand printed tiles, handmade woollen crochet, ornamenets, polyester, MDF, iron
237 x 124 x 60 cm
Pearl Lam Galleries Contact Gallery
Majestic Lion by Joana Vasconcelos contemporary artwork mixed media
Joana Vasconcelos Majestic Lion Handmade woollen crochet, ornaments, polyester, on canvas, stucco, gold leaf, MDF, iron
149 x 219 x 50 cm
Pearl Lam Galleries Contact Gallery

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