Urgent Museum Notice

Joana Vasconcelos

A light-skinned adult woman with bobbed brown hair wears a black sleeveless dress. She smiles wide and leans her hands back against a railing. Behind her is the lower portion of a large colorful fabric sculpture in front of a white wall.

Photo © Peter Mallet/ Courtesy Haunch of Venison, London

Born in 1971

Vasconcelos creates large-scale installations, often with performance components, which encourage viewers to walk through and touch them.  She is also known for enveloping everyday objects—pianos, laptops, commercially produced decorative objects—in crocheted or knitted material. Through such works, she contrasts mass-produced and handcrafted and alludes to our values and associations with each.

Much of Vasconcelos’s work also confronts feminist concerns and societal conventions, paralleled by her use of techniques typically categorized as craft and associated with women, such as crochet and sewing.

Vasconcelos first attracted international attention at the 2005 Venice Biennale with A Noiva (The Bride), a chandelier crafted from 25,000 tampons. She was again the talk of the Biennale in 2011, with her installation “Contaminação,” which opened the group exhibition The World Belongs to You at the Palazzo Grassi.

Artist Details

  • Name

    Joana Vasconcelos
  • Birth

    Paris, 1971

Works by Joana Vasconcelos

Viriato

Portuguese artist Joana Vasconcelos examines issues of national identity and consumer culture through works that test the boundary between “high” and “low” art. She is particularly known for enveloping everyday items—a piano, a laptop—in crocheted or knitted material. Because handmade textiles are universally rich with associations, Vasconcelos intends them to encourage multiple interpretations by viewers.

Named for a first-century leader...

A mass-produced, ceramic German shepherd sits upright and alert with mouth open and tongue extended as if panting. Panels of elaborate hand-crafted crochet in shades of mint, citron, and emerald green form a skin-tight web that entirely envelops the dog.