Until November the 11th, 2018
Joana Vasconcelos, the most internationally reputed Portuguese artist of her generation, presents her first anthological exhibition in Spain at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao.
Vasconcelos, born in Paris in 1971, lives and works in Lisbon. She has exhibited regularly since the mid-1990s. Her work became known internationally after her participation in the 51st Venice Biennale in 2005, with the work The Bride. She was the first woman and the youngest artist to exhibit at the Palace of Versailles, in 2012.
I’m Your Mirror, whose title is a tribute to Nico, the celebrated German vocalist who sang I’ll Be Your Mirror with the New York band The Velvet Underground, is a retrospective featuring some thirty pieces produced between 1997 and the present day. Some of the selected works are among the best known of her career, such as Burka and The Bride, while others are more recent or have been created especially for this occasion, like the monumental Egeria (2018), installed in the Atrium of the Museum, interacting with Frank Gehry’s architecture and taking on the character of a gentle guardian: the sublime heart of the museum that enlightens the creative spirit of woman.
Vasconcelos’s production contains references both to the popular culture of her country and to the most recent theoretical debates in contemporary art, especially those concerned with fostering viewer participation in the interpretation of artworks. Her sculptures are usually large-format works that sometimes have movement, sound, or lights are characterized by their chromatic richness and their exuberance. Pop Galo, which can be found outside of the Museum, is the perfect example, being a 10 meters high public artwork inspired by one of the most relevant symbols of popular Portuguese culture: the rooster of Barcelos. It is covered with 17 thousand handmade tiles and a dazzling game of sound and light that fill the street of Bilbao with color and magic, especially at night!
With an attractive sense of humor, her work also explores issues of identity ranging from very intimate questions to universal sociopolitical themes linked to globalized postcolonial societies, such as migration or the exploitation of women. It can be appreciated on the short video that the Museum has created to advertise the exhibition.