Joana Vasconcelos: ‘What are you hiding? May you find what you are looking for’ at San Clemente Palace Kempinski, Venice, through November 1, 2019

“Continuing MGM’s mission to support art and culture, new and recent works by internationally renowned Portuguese artist Joana Vasconcelos are on show for the first time in Venice. The exhibition, curated by Nina Moaddel, takes place on Isola di San Clemente where the works are exhibited across the Palace Kempinski gardens and in the San Clemente church. Vasconcelos’ largest Valkyrie piece was shown in Valkyrie Octopus at MGM MACAU in 2015; the Venice exhibition therefore marks a continuation of this relationship, bringing a part of the East meets West cultural tastes between Macau, China and Portugal to new audiences in Venice. 

The exhibition’s title – ‘What are you hiding? May you find what you are looking for’ – is a response to the 58th Venice Biennale’s title as selected by curator Ralph Rugoff, ‘May you live in interesting times’. Vasconcelos’ works contain references both to the popular culture of her home country and to theoretical debates in contemporary art, especially those concerned with fostering viewers’ interpretation of artworks. Whilst seemingly a blessing, the expression ‘May you live in interesting times’ has an ironic edge, playing on the illusion that you will be happy when you reach your goals and dreams. Similarly Vasconcelos’ works play with the viewers perception through a sharp sense of humour that shuns dogmatism and at the same time explores issues of identity, migration and the exploitation of women.” — MGM

Joana Vasconcelos. I’ll be Your Mirror #1 (2019) in the garden of San Clemente Palace Kempinski, Venice 

Joana Vasconcelos. Front: Betty Boop PA (2019). Back: I’ll be Your Mirror #1 (2019) in the garden of San Clemente Palace Kempinski, Venice

Joana Vasconcelos. Betty Boop PA (2019) in the garden of San Clemente Palace Kempinski, Venice

Joana Vasconcelos, Madragoa (2015-2019) in San Clemente Church, Venice

Joana Vasconcelos, Madragoa (2015-2019) in San Clemente Church, Venice

Installation view: Joana Vasconcelos: Valkyrie Octopus at MGM MACAU, 2015. The work Madragoa is pictured on the left. Credit: Luis Vasconcelos.

Installation view: Joana Vasconcelos: Valkyrie Octopus at MGM MACAU, 2015.

Title Image: Joana Vasconcelos, I’ll Be Your Mirror #1 (2018) Bronze, mirrors 356 x 682 x 537 cm. Edition of 7 + 1 AP. Collection of the artist. Credit: Luis Vasconcelos ©Unidade Infinita Projectos_

Images courtesy MGM.