Portuguese contemporary art star Joana Vasconcelos has been chosen by the secretary of state for culture to represent Portugal at the next Venice Biennale.
Portuguese visual artist Joana Vasconcelos has been chosen to represent Portugal at the 2013 Venice Biennale, one of the most important art events in the world, Secretary of State for Culture Francisco José Viegas announced on Saturday.
Francisco José Viegas chose Vasconcelos because her current status in the art world “elevated Portugal’s reputation”. He added that “it was time to correct the mistake” of never having invited her to represent her country at the Venice Biennale before.
The feeling of ‘Portugueseness’ Vasconcelos brings to art is thought to have influenced the secretary of state for culture’s choice. Inspired by Portuguese tradition and culture, her work conveys a quintessential traditional Portuguese feeling while remaining “astoundingly modern”.
The Paris-born visual artist has carved an international career since 1994 and her works – most notably her sculptures – have been exhibited in cities such as London, Paris, Venice and Budapest.
This invitation comes as Vasconcelos begins a new cycle in her artistic career with an exhibition at the Palace of Versailles, a privilege given to few. She follows in the footsteps of renowned contemporary artists like Jeff Koon, Takashi Murakami, Xavier Veilhan and this year’s Bernar Venet.
The exhibition also makes her the first woman and the youngest artist to ever exhibit at the palace, and also the first Portuguese. Seventeen of her pieces, among which some previously unseen work, will adorn the palace and its gardens.
Three of the most famous pieces are “Marylin“, a pair of shoes made from stainless steel pots, pans and their lids, “Coração Independente” (Independent Heart), a sculpture made of plastic cutlery that reproduces Portuguese filigree technique, and “A Noiva” (The Bride), a chandelier made from tampons. Both “Marylin” and all three Independent Hearts (Black, Golden and Red) will be on show at the Palace of Versailles.
The Venice Biennale is one of the most important contemporary art events in the world, held every two years – on odd years – in Venice, Italy. Held since 1895, it also includes the Venice Film Festival and the Venice Biennale of Architecture, both held on even years.