Joana Vasconcelos

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For the Portuguese sprint canoer, see Joana Vasconcelos (canoeist).
Nectar de Joana Vasconcelos.jpg

Joana Vasconcelos, ComIH[1] (born 8 December 1971), is a Portuguese artist. Her participation in the 2005 edition of the Venice Biennale affirmed her career within the international art circuit with the piece A Noiva (The Bride), a 20 ft. high chandelier made of over 25,000 OB tampons [1]. Moments such as her presence in Japan’s Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennial, in 2006; “Contaminação”, exhibited in 2008, at Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo, in Brazil; or the group exhibition Un Certain Etat du Monde? A Selection of Works From François Pinault Foundation Collection, presented in 2009 at the Garage Centre for Contemporary Culture in Moscow, led to a notable international career. She was also in the grand retrospective, “Sem Rede (Without a Net)”, in 2010, at Museu Colecção Berardo in Portugal.

She was born in Paris, France, but lives and works in Lisbon, Portugal.[2]


Much of Vasconcelos' work deals with feminism, as well as social and political issues. Vasconcelos appropriates, decontextualises and subverts pre-existent objects and everyday realities into sculptures, installations, performances, and video or photographic records, to reveal an acute sense of scale and mastery of color, while combining in the materialization of concepts that challenge the prearranged routines of daily life. Vasconcelos' operations of displacement, a reminiscence of the Ready-made, Nouveau Réalisme and Pop, provide a vision that is complicit and critical of contemporary society and the notions of collective identity, especially those related to the status of women, class distinction or national identity. This process originates a discourse around 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 contemporaneity's usual fluxes of signification.[3]

In June 2011, the installation “Contaminação” opened the group exhibition The World Belongs to You, held at Palazzo Grassi. In 2012, Vasconcelos showed her work at the major annual contemporary art exhibition in the Palace of Versailles, thus continuing the contemporary art programme initiated in 2008. Following in the footsteps of American artist Jeff Koons, the French Xavier Veilhan and Bernar Venet, and the Japanese Takashi Murakami, Joana Vasconcelos was the first woman and the youngest contemporary artist to exhibit in Versailles.[4]

The work exhibited in Versailles was not appreciated by all. Vasconcelos' goal for the portions of the show in the Galerie des Glaces was to have her pieces, A Noiva and Carmen, were to be displayed on opposite ends of the hall, but according to what Vasconcelos was told, “...they are sexual works not appropriate at Versailles." [5]

In October 2013 Vasconcelos took part in Art Wars at the Saatchi Gallery curated by Ben Moore. The artist was issued with a stormtrooper helmet, which she transformed into a work of art. Proceeds went to the Missing Tom Fund set up by Ben Moore to find his brother Tom who has been missing for over ten years. The work was also shown on the Regents Park platform as part of Art Below Regents Park.

Public art[edit]

The site-specific interventions in the public art domain are particularly relevant in the artist’s body of work. Some of Joana Vasconcelos’ most important public art interventions are: Portugal a Banhos, Doca de Santo Amaro, Lisbon (2010); La Théière, Le Royal Monceau, Paris (2010); Sr. Vinho, Mercado Municipal de Torres Vedras, Torres Vedras (2010); Jardim Bordallo Pinheiro, Jardim do Museu da Cidade, Lisbon (2009); Vitrine, Rua do Alecrim, nº12, Lisbon (2008); Varina, Ponte D. Luís I, Porto (2008); A Jóia do Tejo, Torre de Belém, Lisbon (2008).

Selected works[edit]

  • Flores do Meu Desejo [Flowers of My Desire], 1996 [2]
  • Sofá Aspirina, 1997 [3]
  • Cama Valium [Valium Bed], 1998 [4]
  • Spot Me, 1999 [5]
  • Ponto de Encontro [Meeting Point], 2000 [6]
  • Strangers in the Night, 2000 [7]
  • A Noiva [The Bride], 2001–2005 [8]
  • O Mundo a Seus Pés [The World at Your Feet], 2001 [9]
  • Pantelmina #1, 2001 [10]
  • Barco da Mariquinhas [Mariquinhas’ Boat], 2002 [11]
  • Burka, 2002 [12]
  • www.fatimashop, 2002 [13]
  • Una Dirección [One Way], 2003 [14]
  • Coração Independente Dourado [Golden Independent Heart], , 2004 [15]
  • Passerelle, 2005 [16]
  • Néctar, 2006
  • Big Booby, 2007 [17]
  • Donzela [Maiden], 2007 [18]
  • Jardim do Éden [Garden of Eden], 2007 [19]
  • Contaminação [Contamination], 2008–2010 [20]
  • A Jóia do Tejo [The Jewel of the Tagus], 2008 [21]
  • Piano Dentelle, 2008 [22]
  • Marilyn, 2009 [23]
  • Valquíria Enxoval [Valkyrie Trousseau], 2009 [24]
  • Portugal a Banhos, 2010 [25]
  • Sr. Vinho [Mr. Wine], 2010 [26]
  • La Théière, 2010
  • Loft, 2010 [27]
  • Mary Poppins, 2010 [28]
  • Sugar Baby, 2010
  • Tutti Frutti, 2011 [29]
  • War Games, 2011 [30]
  • Lilicoptère, 2012 [31]


  • 2016/17: Textures of Life ARoS Aarhus Art Museum, Denmark
  • 2014: (Feb - June) 'Time Machine', Manchester City Galleries, Manchester, UK.
  • 2011: Magic Kingdom, Kunsthallen Brandts, Odense; The World Belongs to You, Palazzo Grassi, Venice; Res Publica, Centenário da República, Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon
  • 2010: I Will Survive, Haunch of Venison, London; Sem Rede, Museu Colecção Berardo, Lisbon.
  • 2009: Un Certain État du Monde? A Selection of Works From François Pinault Foundation Collection, Garage Centre for Contemporary Culture, Moscovo; À la Mode de Chez Nous: Júlio Pomar et Joana Vasconcelos, Centre Culturel Calouste Gulbenkian, Paris; Mi Vida – Heaven and Hell – The Musac Collection in Budapest, Mücsarnok Kunsthalle, Budapest
  • 2008: Contaminação, Projecto Octógono de Arte Contemporânea, Pinacoteca do Estado, São Paulo; Où le Noir Est Couleur, Galerie Nathalie Obadia, Paris; L’Argent, Le Plateau, Paris
  • 2007: Joana Vasconcelos, The New Art Gallery Walsall; Yellow Brick Road, Palazzo Nani Bernardo Lucheschi, Venice; A Ilha dos Amores, Galeria Mario Mauroner, Vienna
  • 2006: Espais Oberts, Caixa Fórum, Fundación La Caixa, Barcelona; Venice – Istanbul, Istanbul Modern,Istanbul; Echigo Tsumari Triennial, Tokamachi.
  • 2005: Always a Little Further – La Bienalle di Venezia, Arsenale, Venice; L’Idiotie - Expérience Pommery #2, Pommery, Reims


  1. ^ "Ordens Honoríficas Portuguesas" [Portuguese Honorary Orders] (in Portuguese). Presidency of the Portuguese Republic. Retrieved 10 March 2015. 
  2. ^ Joana Vasconcelos Biography Retrieved April 28, 2013
  3. ^ Joana Vasconcelos Biography Retrieved April 28, 2013
  4. ^ Evelyne Politanoff, The Huffington Post "Versailles by Joana Vasconcelos" Retrieved April 28, 2013
  5. ^ Joana Vasconcelos: Versailles - review Retrieved April 25, 2013

External links[edit]