International exhibitions

Archives 2nd half of 2013


Joana Vasconcelos, Lusitana

Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv (Israel)

04.11.2013 - 26.04.2014

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Press release


Joana Vasconcelos (b. 1971) is one of Portugal’s leading artists and was the country’s representative at La Biennale di Venezia 2013. Her work engages in an investigation of gender, class and national identities through the media of sculpture, installations, assemblages, video and photography, all the while remonstrating against the routine of everyday life. In her works, she expands upon the principles of American Pop art and European Nouveau Réalisme, as well as the use of found objects by Marcel Duchamp in a manner compatible with the contemporary discourse.










Joana Vasconcelos, Lusitana, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv

© ArtCatalyse International / Marika Prévosto 2013. All Rights Reserved

Exhibition 4 November 2013 - 26 April 2014. Tel Aviv Museum of Art, 27 Shaul Hamelech Blvd, POB 33288, The Golda Meir Cultural and Art Center, 61332012 Tel Aviv (Israel). Tel.: +972 (0)3 6077020. Opening hours: Mon, Wed 10.00 - 16.00 - Tues, Thurs 10.00 - 22.00 - Fri 10.00 - 14.00 - Sat 10.00 - 16.00.



Joana Vasconcelos, Lusitana, 2013, Handmade woolen crochet, felt appliqués, fabrics, ornaments, polyester, steel cables, 1500 x 1600 x 2000 cm. Collection of the artist / Courtesy Galerie Nathalie Obadia, Paris/Brussels. Technical drawing of the installation.

Joana Vasconcelos, Lusitana, 2013, Handmade woolen crochet, felt appliqués, fabrics, ornaments, polyester, steel cables, 1500 x 1600 x 2000 cm. Collection of the artist / Courtesy Galerie Nathalie Obadia, Paris/Brussels. Technical drawing of the installation.


Vasconcelos’ art is based on appropriation, decontextualization and subversion of preexisting objects. She disrupts and breaks out of the boundaries of deeply rooted cultural dichotomies such as private/public, traditional/modern, artisanal work/industrialization, feminine/masculine, high/low. Her use of a variety of materials (textiles, plastic, ceramics) and the techniques of displacement and imitation serves these ideas, which are also realized in grandiose site-specific works, like this one.


The artist conceived Lusitana from within a dialogue with the unusual geometry of the 27-meter-high twisted atrium in the Tel Aviv Museum of Art’s Herta and Paul Amir Building, which refracts natural light into the building’s various levels. The title – “Lusitana” (Lusitanian woman) – references the Lusitanian people who lived in the Roman province in the northwestern Iberian Peninsula and are considered symbolically to be the origin of the Portuguese nation. It echoes the development processes of gender identity in Portugal’s traditions and culture. Lusitana is part of Vasconcelos’ series called Valkyries (female figures from Norse mythology who hover over the battlefield and control the outcome of the conflict and the fate of the warriors). She has been engaged since 2004 in this series of suspended textile works that have a central body and outcropping arms in strange organic forms.


This unique work that reflects the artist’s idiosyncratic style is composed of soft textiles and ornaments that originated in Israel and Portugal. Vasconcelos combines industrial fabrics and handmade techniques – some universal, such as crochets, and others local, such as traditional felts from Nisa (a town in the Alentejo region in the south of Portugal) – into a spectacular, colorful and sensuous performance that penetrates the space of this contemporary digital architecture and dominates it.

Lusitana, the most ambitious work of the Valkyries series, gravitates in suspension, complementing the challenging architecture that welcomes it. Tentacular, the work projects from its central body various arms that reach the different levels of the building. The explosion of diverse colors and textures, patent in Lusitana, offers a happy counterpoint to the aseptic surrounding of the Lightfall, now invaded by a spectacular flux of color that accompanies the cascade of light that characterizes this space.


Curator: Ahuva Israel