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Joana in a Good Place.

Joana Vasconcelos is a Portuguese artist, probably the most relevant one in her generation, one that is increasingly managing to transpose her national-resonating creative approach, anchored in such subjects as Feminism, and Social and Political perspectives, as illuminated by our common national identity, into a body of work that has steadily been picking up international recognition over the last decade.

http://www.joanavasconcelos.com/menu_en.aspx

Since 1994, she has been exposing regularly both in Portugal and abroad, with highly favorable reviews.

This year, a very comprehensive exhibition of her works opened in March at "Palácio Nacional da Ajuda", in Lisbon, a beautiful 19th century neoclassic palace, one that served as the residence of the Portuguese Royal family until Monarchy was abolished in 1910. It has been a National Museum since the late 60's.

http://www.palacioajuda.pt/pt-PT/otherlanguages/ContentDetail.aspx

The "play" between the palace's historical atmosphere and Joana's contemporary work is a truly remarkable one and I can only but praise the curators and commissioner for the brilliant idea...and I must surely not be the only one feeling this since, during the first 2 of the 5 months exhibition (it will run until August), it received over 75,000 visitors, almost as many as the palace usually attracts in a full "good" year.

I am also extremely grateful that, demonstrating a not-so-common enlightened attitude towards photography, they have allowed for any kind of photographic equipment to be used by visitors, with the exception of flashes and tripods (...even this restriction, I believe, has more to do with the risk of affecting the palaces interiors and extremely valuable decoration pieces, than with the Joana's exposed works, themselves...).

These people and, especially, the artist seem to understand that depiction of a work of art in images is not an alternative for live contact with it and that photographs may actually act more like a reinforcement and/or a teaser than substitutes, at any level, for personal interaction with the represented pieces.

I spent roughly 3 hours fully enjoying the palace (...which I hardly remembered anymore, since I had only visited it as a child...) and Joana's remarkable, unique works.

Here's a selection of her works in the exhibition, including typical Portuguese pottery animals enrobed in crochet, a robotic piece made of pressing irons, a pair of giant high-heel shoes made from cooking pots and their lids, a chandelier built from tampons, a giant heart made of plastic cutlery and the amazing "Lilicoptčre" an helicopter flamboyantly decorated with sequins, golden paint and pink feathers, a piece that made me burst laughing out loud when I first saw it.

Hope you enjoy them as much as I did.


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