The Manchester Art Gallery will stage the UK’s most ambitious exhibition of works by Portuguese contemporary artist Joana Vasconcelos. Fresh from her success representing Portugal at the 55th Venice Biennale, Vasconcelos will bring her seductive and subversive large-scale sculptures to Manchester for an exclusive site specific exhibition at Manchester Art Gallery. This major new show will feature over twenty of the Portuguese artist’s most significant sculptures, which will fill the gallery’s major exhibition spaces, adorn the exterior of the gallery and act as interventions with the gallery’s permanent collection in spaces across the whole gallery building. The exhibition will include new and recent works, the majority of which are previously unseen in the UK.
The exhibition will feature the world premiere of a monumental new textile work that has been specially commissioned as a site-specific installation for Manchester Art Gallery’s atrium and staircase. Vasconcelos’ major new commission comprises brightly coloured organic forms that will cascade down the gallery’s stairs from the main exhibition galleries and spill over the balconies into the atrium. It will be composed of many fabric elements including knitting and crochet, fine silks and cotton velvets (referred to as Manchester cloth across much of the world), recycled clothes and industrially produced textiles, embellished with Portuguese tassels, crystals and beads in a riotous patchwork of patterns, shapes and textures, hanging in striking contrast to the straight, clean lines of the glass atrium. This new piece from the iconic ‘Valkyries’ series is inspired by a previous work, Contamination, which was originally conceived for the Pinacoteca d o Estado de São Paulo in 2008 and reconfigured for the historic Palazzo Grassi in Venice in 2011.
Joana Vasconcelos Manchester Art Gallery From 15 February 2014