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In June 2012, Joana Vasconcelos will be representing contemporary art at Versailles. After the American Jeff Koons, the Japanese Takashi Murakami, and the French Xavier Veilhan and Bernar Venet, she will be the first woman and the youngest artist also to show her work in the setting of the absolute historical reference that is Versailles.
You would have to have listened to Joana Vasconcelos in her studio, a vast warehouse in the docks of Lisbon, to understand that for her this is the encounter of a lifetime. ‘I’ve always thought about Versailles’, she confides as she explains her universe, which is at the same time exuberant and refined, precise and enormous. She has designed this exhibition not as a decoration of the palace but as a contemporary appropriation of a legendary place.
Joana Vasconcelos does not seek to fit into Versailles, but to confront it. Her work made up of redirections, metamorphoses and displacements of objects, cuts across time and shifts the symbols.
Inspired by the mythological and aesthetic force of the palace of Versailles, Joana Vasconcelos goes even further in her questioning of luxury and beauty by proposing new works specially designed for the palace. At the same time her programme is centred on the figure of the Woman, omnipresent in her approach, as she is in Versailles. Her aesthetic is both popular and sophisticated, a dialogue between past and present that forms part of history itself. Thus, the exhibition of Joana Vasconcelos is as much an ephemeral folly as a moment of history. She offers herself to the visitors of Versailles with her harmonies and her dissonances. And also her magic.
President of the Public Establishment of the Palace, Museum and National Estate