Gucci Museo announces the solo exhibition of Portuguese artist Joana Vasconcelos curated by Francesca Amfitheatrof consisting of four works loaned from the Pinault Collection: Red Independent Heart (2010), Psycho (2010), Lavoisier (2011) and Hand Made (2008).
Red Independent Heart (Coração Independente Vermelho, 2008) is a beautiful rotating heart-shaped form made of thousands of translucent red plastic knives, forks and spoons half melted and shaped in an iron framework suspended from the main gallery ceiling. The heart is a plastic rendition of a popular piece of Portuguese jewellery, “Coração de Viana” (“The Heart of Viana”) recreated on a monumental scale and the title is a lyric from the Fado song “Estranha Forma de Vida” (“Strange Way of Life”) bringing to the work another element of Portuguese history.
Lavoisier (2011) is made up of a stainless-steel kitchen sink entwined in the brightly coloured textiles that form so much of Vasconcelos’ work. The crochet-work links this piece to a key idea explored on a much larger scale in one of her most famous works, Contaminacion (2008). The work speaks of the relationship between the modern industrial world and the traditional artisan world, the human and the modern, the ambiguity of progress.
Psycho (2010) is made of two stainless steel shower heads linked together by a flowing tube of crochet-work, glass beads, and polyester, all in an aqueous palette of blue and green. The title recalls Hitchcock’s film whose shower scene has come to represent an iconic image of violence against women. Again we have the dazzling textiles and the domestic setting, but now with the sinister reference to Hitchcock and violent emotion. The piece gives expression to a key theme in Vasconcelos’ work: the dichotomy between reason and emotion.
Hand-made (2008) documents, in a looped video projection, the handcrafted work in crochet and knitting of five women of different generations, countries and cultural backgrounds revealing an intricate web of relations of an ethnographic, sociological and historical meaning.
Joana Vasconcelos is representing Portugal at the 55th Venice Art Biennale.