Lisbon-based artist Joana Vasconcelos creates amazing sculptural work and site-specific installations of all kinds. From life-sized high heels in the palace of Versailles to nautical buoys covering the surface of a building, there is nothing Vasconcelos won’t do! The artist’s bio says, “The nature of Joana Vasconcelos’ creative process is based on the appropriation, decontextualization, and subversion of pre-existent objects and everyday realities.” She presents viewers with new ways of thinking about the world, particularly focusing on identity, class distinction, and gender roles.
In this series of crocheted animals, Vasconcelos envelopes ceramic, plastic, and rubber sculptures, created by Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro, with delicate patterns of handmade cotton crochet and lace. The intricate details of each handmade creation are evidence of the artist’s extreme technical skills and she presents her viewers with the strength and resilience of a craft that is typically associated with softness and effeminacy. Circular patterns, flowers, and swirls cover the surface of various and quite unrelated animals, including a snake, a crab, and the bust of a bull. In each impressive piece, Vasconcelos blurs all kinds of boundaries, including that of artistic ownership, as she covers someone else’s sculptures in her own handmade work.