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Joana Vasconcelos' "Lusitana" on view at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art
Joana Vasconcelos, “Lusitana,” 2013. Handmade woolen crochet, felt appliqués, fabrics, ornaments, polyester, steel cables, 1500 x 1600 x 2000 cm. Collection of the artist / Courtesy Galerie Nathalie Obadia, Paris/Brussels.
TEL AVIV.- Joana Vasconcelos (b. 1971) is one of Portugal’s leading artists and was the country’s representative at La Biennale di Venezia 2013. Her work engages in an investigation of gender, class and national identities through the media of sculpture, installations, assemblages, video and photography, all the while remonstrating against the routine of everyday life. In her works, she expands upon the principles of American Pop art and European Nouveau Réalisme, as well as the use of found objects by Marcel Duchamp in a manner compatible with the contemporary discourse.

Vasconcelos’ art is based on appropriation, decontextualization and subversion of preexisting objects. She disrupts and breaks out of the boundaries of deeply rooted cultural dichotomies such as private/public, traditional/modern, artisanal work/industrialization, feminine/masculine, high/low. Her use of a variety of materials (textiles, plastic, ceramics) and the techniques of displacement and imitation serves these ideas, which are also realized in grandiose site-specific works, like this one.

The artist conceived “Lusitana” from within a dialogue with the unusual geometry of the 27-meter-high twisted atrium in the Tel Aviv Museum of Art’s Herta and Paul Amir Building, which refracts natural light into the building’s various levels. The title – “Lusitana” (Lusitanian woman) – references the Lusitanian people who lived in the Roman province in the northwestern Iberian Peninsula and are considered symbolically to be the origin of the Portuguese nation. It echoes the development processes of gender identity in Portugal’s traditions and culture. “Lusitana” is part of Vasconcelos’ series called “Valkyries” (female figures from Norse mythology who hover over the battlefield and control the outcome of the conflict and the fate of the warriors). She has been engaged since 2004 in this series of suspended textile works that have a central body and outcropping arms in strange organic forms.

This unique work that reflects the artist’s idiosyncratic style is composed of soft textiles and ornaments that originated in Israel and Portugal. Vasconcelos combines industrial fabrics and handmade techniques – some universal, such as crochets, and others local, such as traditional felts from Nisa (a town in the Alentejo region in the south of Portugal) – into a spectacular, colorful and sensuous performance that penetrates the space of this contemporary digital architecture and dominates it.

Today's News

November 9, 2013

Exhibition of recent and new works by Yayoi Kusama on view at David Zwirner in New York

Auction record set for Sorolla in America at today's 19th Century European Art Sale at Sotheby's

Museum of Liverpool and Homotopia open major exhibition telling the story of April Ashley

Antonio Berni's monumental "Juanito and Ramona" series presented at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

2013 Guggenheim International Gala celebrates James Turrell and Christopher Wool

Ann Beha Architects to design The New Britain Museum of American Art expansion

"Civil War Drawings from the Becker Collection" opens at the Frick Pittsburgh

Samuel Clifford Miller, Director Emeritus of the Newark Museum, dies at age 83

High-grade 1893-S Morgan Dollar realizes $235,000 to lead Heritage Auctions' coin event

Mitchell-Innes & Nash opens Leon Kossoff's first drawing survey in the United States

Newly renovated and reinstalled historic library at the Huntington opens to the public

"Heidi Wood: Setting for an Ordinary Life" opens at the Musée national Fernand Léger

The Broad at Michigan State University announces Alison Gass as new Deputy Director

New commissions by Alison Turnbull and Matt Calderwood on view at De La Warr Pavilion

Joana Vasconcelos' "Lusitana" on view at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art

Records fall as Norman Rockwell's "The Song of Bernadette" brings $605,000

George Clooney Nazi art thriller due at Berlin film fest: organisers

The Sky Inside: Laurence Miller Gallery presents DoDo Jin Mingâ's most recent series

Chinese carved coral Guan Yin sculpture sells for $66,550 at Elite Decorative Arts

Solo exhibition of new paintings by Ann Craven opens at Maccarone

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