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Publications > Joana Vasconcelos

Portugal, 2007

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This monograph on Joana Vasconcelos is the fourth volume promoted by ADIAC-Portugal, in less than two years.

Founded in April 2005 as a collectors association. ADIAC-Portugal came upon the need of helping Portuguese artists in divulging their oeuvre on an international scale. It is suprising that an artist with a curriculum such as Joana Vasconcelos’, which already includes a participation in the Venice Biennale (“A Noiva”, 2005) and in the Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennial (“Message in a Bott1e”, 2006), does not yet possess that fundamental work and research instrument for both the public and the cultural agents who wish to become acquainted with her language and artistic trajectory.

With this new edition, ADIAC reiterates’ both its interest in fostering emergent Portuguese artists, as well as their ambition in filling the void which presently exists in Portugal.

It is part of our communication strategy to invite foreign personalities to reflect on the work of Portuguese artists. For having accomplished this mission with extraordinary acuity and lucidity, we would like to thank Jacinto Lageira and Agustin Perez Rubio. At present there seems to be nothing more we could add to their writing, but we would like highlight the artist’s ability to reflect on issues as pertinent and as contemporary as national identity and the way in which a peripheral country, integrated within a large community, positions itself in an ever more “global” world.

By capturing “l’air du temps" in a very unique way, Joana Vasconcelos has managed to take advantage of her own idiosyncrasies (doubly European; born in a country where her parents had been granted political asylum; pursues her career in a sector dominated by the male gender).

If “O Barco da Mariquinhas” (a small boat covered in ordinary tiles) summarizes, ironically, the state of the nation, it also renders evident that a time when fishermen earned a modest living out of the waters of the river Tagus is now nothing more than nostalgia. Gone are the days of the great discoveries, the epopee on which we raised our identity.

In the pieces comprised of faience dogs covered in crochet-work, the combination of elements of a typically Portuguese quotidian, both industrially and manually crafted, reveals the capacity to subvert the aesthetical meaning which they would have hold separately and ends up generating a work of art where the social significance of each element has been changed.

If in “ Pop Champagne” (2006) the sphere of national identity (the use of bottles of Portuguese beverages) confronts itself with artistic symbology (formal relation with Duchamp's Porte Bouteille), in “Burka” (2002) that confrontation is reflected in a strong symbolical relationship of a political nature and of great international actuality.

ADIAC is thus proud of, with this extra volume, being able to contribute to a greater visibility of Portuguese contemporary art and artists.

Antonio Veiga Pinto / Marc Pottier