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MGM presents their second major collaboration with artist Joana Vasconcelos in Venice
MGM presents ‘What are you hiding? May you find what you are looking for’ by Joana Vasconcelos at San Clemente Palace Kempinski, Venice, 10 May – 1 November 2019.

VENICE.- Continuing MGM’s mission to support art and culture, new and recent works by internationally renowned Portuguese artist Joana Vasconcelos are on show for the first time in Venice. The exhibition, curated by Nina Moaddel, takes place on Isola di San Clemente where the works are being exhibited across the Palace Kempinski gardens and in the San Clemente church. Vasconcelos’ largest Valkyrie piece was shown in Valkyrie Octopus at MGM MACAU in 2015; the Venice exhibition therefore marks a continuation of this relationship, bringing a part of the East meets West cultural tastes between Macau, China and Portugal to new audiences in Venice.

The exhibition’s title – ‘What are you hiding? May you find what you are looking for’ – is a response to the 58th Venice Biennale’s title as selected by curator Ralph Rugoff, ‘May you live in interesting times’. Vasconcelos’ works contain references both to the popular culture of her home country and to theoretical debates in contemporary art, especially those concerned with fostering viewers’ interpretation of artworks. Whilst seemingly a blessing, the expression ‘May you live in interesting times’ has an ironic edge, playing on the illusion that you will be happy when you reach your goals and dreams. Similarly Vasconcelos’ works play with the viewers perception through a sharp sense of humour that shuns dogmatism and at the same time explores issues of identity, migration and the exploitation of women. The exhibition showcases Vasconcelos’ work Madragoa (2015-2019) in the San Clemente Church. This large-scale floor sculpture, inspired by Lisbon’s buildings façades, explores the intersections of sculpture, architecture and painting. After being shown at MGM MACAU in 2015 as part of the exhibition Valkyrie Octopus, the work travels to Venice with new elements specially created for this site. This piece offers visitors the opportunity to interact by sitting on it and contemplating three different perspectives of the surroundings.

In the gardens of the Kempinski Palace there is I’ll be Your Mirror #1 (2019), a giant Venetian carnival mask made of mirrors. Viewers will be invited to look through the Gulliver-like mask, from the inside or from the outside, without ever losing sight of one’s own image. I’ll be Your Mirror was recently displayed at the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao in a solo show by Vasconcelos. Also featured in the gardens is Betty Boop PA (2019), Vasconcelos’ most iconic work and part of the artist’s famous shoes series. The high-heeled shoe is crafted out of saucepans and brings together two paradigmatic tropes of a woman’s private and public image. The work proposes a revision of the “feminine” in today’s world.

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