photos: © Joana Vasconcelos, VEGAP, Bilbao, 2018 . + Guggenheim Bilbao
Vasconcelos’s production contains references both to the popular culture of her country (appropriating the rooster of Barcelos, the heart of Viana do Castelo, and the ceramics of Bordalo Pinheiro) and to the most recent theoretical debates in contemporary art, especially those concerned with fostering viewer participation in the interpretation of artworks. The artist uses many materials from everyday life, such as household appliances, wall tiles, fabrics, medicines, urinals, pans, and plastic cutlery, exploiting the narrative and emotional charge they hold or release. Her sculptures, usually large-format works that sometimes have movement, sound, or lights are characterized by their chromatic richness and their exuberance. With an attractive sense of humor that shuns dogmatism, 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.