joana vasconcelos brings her subversive sculptures to manchester art gallery
original content
feb 14, 2014
joana vasconcelos brings her subversive sculptures to manchester art gallery


joana vasconcelos brings her subversive sculptures to manchester art gallery
joana vasconcelos
tutti frutti, 2011
photo: © unidade infinita projectos

 

 

 

 

joana vasconcelos: time machine
manchester art gallery, manchester, UK
february 15th to june 1st, 2014

 

the manchester art gallery hosts the first major exhibition of joana vasconcelos presented in the UK. on this occasion, the portuguese artist presents more than 20 works, both new and recent, from her portoflio that take over the gallery’s main permanent collection spaces, as well the exterior perimeter of the building. entitled ‘time machine’, the ambitious offering gives visitors an in-depth look into the seductive and sometimes, rebellious approach of vasconcelos’s most significant sculptures.

 

taking over the atrium and the central staircase of the manchester art gallery, is the premier of a monumental textile work which vasconcelos has developed as a site-specific installation. drawing from her in previous ‘contamination’ piece, ‘valkyries’ is a composition of brightly colored organic forms that cascade over the stairs. its construction of fabric elements that include the employment of knitting and crochet techniques, fine silks and cotton velvets, recycled clothes and industrially produced textiles, adorned with portuguese tassels, crystals and beads, form a chaotic patchwork of colors, shapes, patterns and textures, that contrast the clean, straight lines of the atrium space.

joana vasconcelos time machine manchester art gallery designboom
joana vasconcelos
war games, 2011
photo: © unidade infinita projectos

 

 

 

 

another first is the display of three of vasconcelos’ vehicle works together, each of which take a different mode of transportation as a starting point for her artistic interventions. at its core, ‘war games’ (2011) is a black morris oxford car that is adorned in toy rifles and LEDs, occupied by soft and plastic toys which squeak and move endlessly as its passengers; ‘www.fatimashop’ (2002), is a tricycle van filled with mass produced statues of portuguese catholic religious icon our lady of fatima, illuminated, accompanied by the video ‘fui às compras (gone shopping)’; and ‘lilicoptère’ (2012), conceived for her solo show at the château de versailles, in which the artist has covered a bell 47 helicopter with pink ostrich feathers and swarovski crystals, embellished with gold leave, needlework rugs, walnut wood and wood grain paintings. see designboom’s coverage of joana vasconcelos’ exhibition at versailles here.

joana vasconcelos time machine manchester art gallery designboom
joana vasconcelos
lilicoptère, 2012
photo: luís vasconcelos/courtesy unidade infinita projectos | château de versailles

 

joana vasconcelos presents
joana vasconcelos
lilicoptère, 2012
photo: luís vasconcelos/courtesy unidade infinita projectos | château de versailles

 

jana-vasconcelos-time-machine-designboom
joana vasconcelos
lilicoptère, 2012
photo: luís vasconcelos/courtesy unidade infinita projectos | château de versailles

 

joana vasconcelos presents
joana vasconcelos
lilicoptère, 2012
photo: luís vasconcelos/courtesy unidade infinita projectos | château de versailles

 

joana vasconcelos time machine manchester art gallery designboom
joana vasconcelos
full steam ahead (red #1), 2/2, 2012
photo: peter mallet / courtesy haunch of venison

 

 

 

the three kinetic sculptures which make-up the ‘full steam ahead’ series are each formed by a number of steam irons that are arranged to take on the shape of flowers, whose movement emulates the opening and closing of an actual flower’s petals. this visual is audibly enhanced by the hissing of steam being released from the household appliances, resulting in a hot and humid robotic garden of sorts.

joana vasconcelos time machine manchester art gallery designboom
joana vasconcelos
full steam ahead (red #1), 2/2, 2012
photo: peter mallet / courtesy haunch of venison

 

big-booby-joana-vasconcelos
joana vasconcelos
big booby #2, 2011
photo: © unidade infinita projectos

 

 

 

to create an experience that sees the art engaging with the space, rather than just occupying it, a selection of works have been placed in unexpected, and humorous positions among the manchester gallery’s typical displays, generating a thoughtful connection with the historical architecture of the venue, and the works of art from the city’s collections. among these are the further development of vasconcelos’s earlier three-dimensional crochet paintings, including ‘big booby #2′, which have been produced as responses to the 18th century piece with which they are exhibited.

joana-vasconcelos-time-machine-manchester-art-gallery-designboom-03
joana vasconcelos
surf, 2013
photo: © unidade infinita projectos

 

 

 

finally, to ensure a complete dialogue is forged between the art and its gallery venue, the sculptures ‘tutti frutti’ (2011) and ‘fruit cake’ (2011) – a larger-than-life ice cream cone and cupcake made from plastic toys – are positioned on the exterior grounds of the cultural institution to greet and see-off visitors of the exhibition.

 

on her ‘time machine’ exhibition, joana vasconcelos says:
it is a privilege to see my work go on show in manchester art gallery’s remarkable spaces. I am particularly proud of the dialogue established between manchester artgallery’s collection and my works, as well as the interaction between the city’s history and traditions and other realities of entirely different provenances – such as those specific to my homeland. time machine will certainly be one of the most challenging and noteworthy shows of my career.’

 

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