ODENSE.- Metres tall and metres long, they conquer their space. At the same time enticingly colourful and mysteriously gloomy. Embracing and devouring. Two of Joana Vasconcelos Valkyries in knit-work and textiles have settled in Kunsthallen Brandts double high rooms. With tentacles, feelers, bulging bodies and eyes on stalk, one is more in the animal kingdom than in a human world. Or perhaps somewhere in the land of the gods: The valkyries served Odin. They selected the greatest among the fallen warriors in the battle field and led them to Valhalla. Odin needed the best men to fight by his side in the struggle at the end of the world: Ragnarok. The valkyries in mythology also appear as servants, mistresses and lovers. And they are pre-occupied with needle-work: They are the ones who weave the fates of humans. Joana Vasconcelos continues to sow together the many mythological stories about these powerful women, and she turns them a modern saga, in an endeavour to supply the present-day fascination with technology and industry with an otherwise repressed touch of magic.
The Garden of Eden as battery driven
Joana Vasconcelos also shows her work, Jardim Eden, 2007. Here the Garden of Eden is illuminated by thousands of little diode lightings, and transparent colourful plastic discs make up the flowers of the garden. Small engines create movement and a humming sound, which reveals that the garden is not genuine, but is kept alive artificially by way of small engines. Vasconcelos shows us the idea of a garden, of nature, which is also arranged in neat patterns like in a renaissance park. Understood as a paradigm of the idea of an eco-system of replacements, the garden becomes a simulacrum, an imitation of natureand of our drive to control it.
The Portuguese artist Joana Vasconcelos (b.1971) has in recent years had her international break-through. She is known worldwide for works including her huge prism chandelier made of thousands of tampons: A Novia, 2001. She is also behind a couple of giant silver stilettos made from pots and lids: Cinderella, 2007. When Vasconcelos uses banal everyday objects for her works and provides them with monumental dimensions, she takes a critical angle on the incredible over-consumption of the Western world. She debates feminism and makes technology face the mystical-religious, handicraft against industry. She has been represented at the most important biennials and at present exhibits at Palazzo Grassi in Venice. In 2012 she will exhibit at Versailles. It is hence an artist in great demand, who will visit Kunsthallen Brandtsguesting Denmark for the first time.