“Carte blanche” Modem to the Portuguese artist Joana Vasconcelos.
May 28 2018
For the Cover and Dividers of MODEM MEN LONDON, FIRENZE, MILANO, PARIS, June 2018 edition, we gave “carte blanche” to Joana Vasconcelos, Portuguese artist, born in 1971. She lives and works in Lisbon.
Considered one of the most significant artists of the last decade, Joana Vasconcelos’s open-ended works reflect her direct, humorous vision of the world.
Her work became known internationally after her participation to the 51st Venice Biennale in 2005, with the work ''A Noiva'' [The Bride] (2001-05), a chandelier made of tampons. OB tampons, stainless steel, cotton thread, steel cables > 600 × Ø 300 cm
She was the first woman and the youngest artist to exhibit at the Palace of Versailles, in 2012. ''Marilyn'' (AP), 2011 > (2x) 297 x 155 x 410 cm. A work exposed to the Palace of Versailles, composed of stainless steel pans and lids.
Some of Joana Vasconcelos’s works are extraordinarily complex; they move, make sounds, or are illuminated. Vasconcelos uses a wide variety of materials from everyday life to make these works: electrical appliances, tiles, fabrics, popular ceramics, bottles, medicine, urinals, showers, kitchen utensils, telephones, cars, and plastic cutlery. With them, she builds striking, lighthearted, direct images which refer to socio-political affairs related to consumerist, post-colonial, globalized societies and addresses issues spanning from immigration to gender violence.
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.
For the work represented on the cover of Modem : ''I’ll Be Your Mirror'' 2018 - Bronze, mirrors > 356 × 682 × 537 cm Joana Vasconcelos makes use of dozens of mirrors – with richlydecorated frames, designed by the artist –, overlapping, like scales, to build a monumental and surprising Venetian mask.
The public is invited to look through the Gulliver-like mask, from the inside or from the outside, but without ever losing sight of one’s own image reflected over the many mirrors that form the mask.
The title is taken from the homonymous song, written by Lou Reed and interpreted by the Velvet Underground & Nico, whose promise is to reflect, like a mirror, the true “self”.
Guggenheim Museum Bilbao JOANA VASCONCELOS
the first solo exhibition of a Portuguese artist in a Guggenheim Museum, from 29 June to 11 November 2018.