Textures of Life by Joana Vasconcelos

ARoS Kunstmuseum, Aarhus, 2017

A large part of installation artist Joana Vasconcelos’ work revolves around the feminine – both as a social and a political phenomenon. She works with everyday objects and traditional Portuguese craft traditions including tiles, ceramics, fabric, embroidery and crochet. With sumptuous explosions of colour and authentic materials, she focuses on everyday routines subjecting them to fresh scrutiny.

For her solo exhibition Textures of Life at AroS, Vasconcelos explored the domestic realm further to create the piece Valkyrie Rán, a spectacular site specific installation using more that 2100 meters of Kvadrat textile across 549 designs and colour variations. The 50 meter long piece will meander the entire main hall and atrium of the museum from entrance to back and across all eight levels in height.

Valkyrie Rán makes reference to the sea deity in Norse Mythology whose name is synonymous with waves, making an association to the idea of travelling and to connecting people across borders by bringing together three dimensions: the Norse culture, the exquisite Kvadrat fabrics and Portuguese traditional handmade techniques. The fabrics and colours were chosen according to the Scandinavian colour scheme, to echo the changing light and seasons in Denmark, and embroidered applications and sequins were added to the sturdy Kvadrat fabrics just as white is added in painting: to underline the relief of the artwork’s depth. This was all quite exciting as it was the first time I was actually able to use fabrics that belong to the domestic universe, further exploring this theme that is so present throughout my work”. Joana Vasconcelos

ARoS has acquired Valkyrie Rán, which will be part of the museum’s permanent collection.

About Joana Vasconcelos

Joana Vasconcelos (1971) lives and works in Lisbon. She has exhibited regularly since the mid-1990s. After her participation in the 51st International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia in 2005, her work became known internationally. Recent highlights of her career include Trafaria Praia, project for the Pavilion of Portugal at the 55th International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia (2013); a solo exhibition at the Château de Versailles, France (2012); participation in the group exhibition 'The World Belongs to You' at the Palazzo Grassi/François Pinault Foundation, Venice (2011); and her first retrospective, held at the Museu Coleção Berardo, Lisbon (2010).

Other highlights include her exhibitions at Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid (2015); Waddesdon Manor – The Rothschild Foundation, Buckinghamshire, United Kingdom (2015); Manchester Art Gallery (2014); Tel Aviv Museum of Art (2013); Palácio Nacional da Ajuda, Lisbon (2013); CENTQUATRE, Paris (2012); Kunsthallen Brandts, Odense, Denmark (2011); Es Baluard, Palma de Mallorca, Spain (2009); Garage Center for Contemporary Culture, Moscow (2009); Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo (2008); The New Art Gallery Walsall, United Kingdom (2007); Istanbul Modern (2006); Passage du Désir/BETC EURO RSCG, Paris (2005); Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo, Seville, Spain (2003); Mu" csarnok, Budapest (2002); Museu da Eletricidade, Lisbon (2001); and the Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Serralves, Porto, Portugal (2000).

Her work is represented in private and public collections such as: Amorepacific Museum of Art; Caixa Geral de Depósitos; Câmara Municipal de Lisboa; Centro de Artes Visuales Fundación Helga de Alvear; Domaine Pommery; FRAC Bourgogne; Fondation Louis Vuitton pour la création; Fundação EDP; Gerard L. Cafesjian Collection; MUSAC; Museu Coleção Berardo; Pinault Collection.

Read more about the exhibition