JOANA VASCONCELOS (Ajuda Palace, Lisbon)

Everywhere I go, I see images of this giant silver stilettos prancing around Portugal. Turns out, it’s an exhibition at the Ajuda Palace by JOANA VASCONCELOS. I’ve seen this stilettos before, It was exhibited in Chateau de Versailles in Paris, where I also saw a similar controversial exhibition by Japanese contemporary artist Takashi Murakami.  I was really fascinated to witness the conversation between the old and the new, the mix of pop and classical, so I knew I couldn’t leave Lisbon without checking out this one.

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Joana Vasconcelos is a Portuguese artist who often creates larger than life sculptures, made up of regular objects from everyday. Her work is often described as humorous and irreverent.

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MARILYN (2009)
oh my, what big shoes you have!
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made up of stainless steel pots and lids 🙂
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MARILYN at the Throne Room

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WAR GAMES (2011)

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It took time before my eyes adjusted in the darkness. Suddenly, I see specks of light all around. And like magic, I was surrounded by a glowing garden, a maze of luminous flowers! What a way to start off this exploration – welcome to the humorous and strange world of Vasconcelos.

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I looked around the opulence of this beautifully preserved palace.

I felt like Alice, lost in Vasconcelos’ wonderland! 

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VITRAIL (2012)
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DESLUNADO (laundry drying racks, lamps, light bulbs)

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I then got to meet different ceramic characters created by Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro,

wrapped in Joana’s handmade crochet work.

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AMELIA the crab
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ALORNA the frog in the Pink Room
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WATSON (2011)
scaredy cat

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MAMBA (2012)
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MARIA PIA (blue wasp sculpture) at the queen’s bedroom

I love how each piece is strategically placed to match or sometimes clash with AJuda palace’ interiors. 

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THE BRIDE (2001)
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a huge candelabra
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entirely made up of white tampons

Be still, my giant red heart.

I was just in awe when I saw this piece, which was one of my favorites. What’s more impressive is when you look at it closely and discover the material she used.

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A red giant heart spinning slowly with fado music (amália rodrigues) playing in the background
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an iconic portuguese jewellery piece
i heART you!
JK joana vasconcelos red independent heart 2
made up of plastic cutleries

Imagine arriving in a meeting or a party with this fluffy helicopter 😀

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in the Archer’s Room
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All Blinged Up!
decorated with ostrich feathers and swarovski crystals

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And then, as if I was not overwhelmed enough, this humongous sculpture was peeking at me in the last room.

JK joana vasconcelos royal valkyrie 1

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it was like a giant alien teddy bear that i wanted to hug.
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w h o a ! ! !

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I was just amazed by it all.

The giant sculptures were truly other-worldly, all beautifully strange.

I dig her kitschy and over-the-top aesthetics.

 Joana Vasconcelos, you rocked my world!


* Images shot with Lipad my I-Pad

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2 thoughts on “JOANA VASCONCELOS (Ajuda Palace, Lisbon)

    1. aww too bad, but i think you will see some of her works in other museums and i’m sure they will have other interesting exhibitions in lisbon in september. enjoy your trip!

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