Image: Valkyrie Marina Rinaldi, 2014 Joana Vasconcelos. Photo © Jonty Wilde
Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP) is hosting an exhibition of Joana Vasconcelos’ work until January 2021. Some of the artist’s monumental works are in the open air – YSP is one of the largest sculpture parks in the UK – and some of her smaller works are in the Underground Gallery. Vasconcelos creates vibrant sculpture, using fabric, needlework and crochet alongside everyday objects from saucepans to wheel hubs. She frequently uses items associated with domestic work and craft to comment from a feminist perspective on national and collective identity, cultural tradition and women’s roles in society.
Image: Marilyn, 2011 Joana Vasconcelos. DMF, Lisboa (c) Unidade.
Within the Underground Gallery, the exhibition contains the 12-metre-long Valkyrie Marina Rinaldi (2014), which hangs suspended from the ceiling. It is one of a series of dramatic works that represent ‘valkyries’, female figures from Norse mythology who selected warriors on the battlefield worthy of a place in Valhalla. Made from multicoloured woolen crochet, fabric and flamboyant embellishments with tentacle limbs that reach across the gallery, Valkyrie Marina Rinaldi embodies the power of these figures through a dynamic mass of texture and colour that is intended to be both menacing and protective.
Image: I'll Be Your Mirror (2019) Joana Vasconcelos.(c) Unidade Infinita.
The hand-crafted versus the industrial is reflected in one of Vasconcelos’ most energetic and colourful works, Pop Galo [Pop Rooster] (2016). Inspired by the image of the Portuguese rooster, Pop Galo brings historic and modern methods of making together, fusing handmade ceramic tiles and LED light technology, to create a contemporary pop art statement which celebrates the rooster of Barcelos – the most popular piece of the country’s traditional pottery. At over nine-metres-high and covered by 17,000 glazed tiles, by day the work traditionally represents the pop culture icon. At dusk, Pop Galo becomes animated by 15,000 LED lights, illuminating the historic parkland. Programmed alongside the lights, a composition by musician Jonas Runa plays from the rooster.
For more information visit www.ysp.org.uk