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.
Vasconcelos has had solo exhibitions and projects at the Palácio Nacional da Ajuda, Lisbon (2013), CENTQUATRE, Paris (2012), Kunsthallen Brandts, Odense, Denmark (2011), Es Baluard, Palma de Mallorca, Spain (2009), Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo (2008), Palazzo Nani Bernardo Lucheschi, Venice (2007), the New Art Gallery Walsall, England (2007), CaixaForum, Barcelona (2006), Passage du Désir/BETC EURO RSCG, Paris (2005), Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo, Seville, Spain (2003), Museu da Eletricidade, Lisbon (2001), and the Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Serralves, Porto, Portugal (2000).
We asked her a few questions:
– What do you love most about Lisbon?
Its colours. Thanks to its natural light, our city’s colours are neither too pastel, nor too light, but are always clean, clear, intense and distinct.
– What’s your favourite food in Lisbon?
The “Bacalhau à Brás” from Bica do Sapato and the “Pastéis de Belém”, of course.
– What would you recommend to a friend that is visiting Lisbon for 48 hours?
I would recommend a visit to the Tile Museum and MUDE, followed by a trip on the 28 tram (a trip that feels like a roller-coaster in slow motion) to the Portas do Sol (Doors of the Sun) viewpoint to get to know the Ricardo Espírito Santo Silva Foundation and enjoy, at sunset, one of the most spectacular views of Lisbon form the St. George Castle. The next day, I would suggest a visit to the zone of Alcântara, passing by Museu do Oriente, and, of course, Belém, with an obligatory stop at the Museum of Electricity, Museu Colecção Berardo, the Tower of Belém and the Jerónimos Monastery.