Joana Vasconcelos was born in 1971 in Paris, and currently lives and works in Lisbon. Vasconcelos’s practice is based mainly on the appropriation and decontextualisation of everyday objects. The artist subverts their use and, with it, our usual routines. Giving priority to the symbols of contemporary society, but at the same time commenting on their distorted dynamics, Vasconcelos adapts the scale and colours of the objects, inviting the viewer to reflect on their role in defining social status and on our personal and collective identity. Contamination (2008-2010), made with hand-made or found objects, presents a proliferation of organic forms, which interact with the architecture of the setting where the work is installed and with the presence of the viewer. The techniques used to assemble the work – sewing, knitting and crochet – are generally considered craft activities and typically female, in obvious contrast with the work’s monumentality and its visual and tactile impact.
Joana Vasconcelos represented Portugal in the 55th Venice Biennale. Exhibitions dedicated to her work have been held at the Manchester Art Gallery (2014), Tel Aviv Museum of Art (2013) and Château de Versailles (2012). Her installation Contamination (2008-2010), devised especially for the atrium of Palazzo Grassi, was included in the exhibition ‘The World Belongs to You’ (2011-12).