Joana Vasconcelos: Time Machine

From 15 February 2014, Manchester Art Gallery staged 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 brought her seductive and subversive large-scale sculptures to Manchester for an exclusive site specific exhibition. This major show featured over twenty of the Portuguese artist’s most significant sculptures, which filled our main exhibition spaces, adorn the outside of our building and permeate the whole gallery. It included recent works of which most were on show in the UK for the first time.
The exhibition featured 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.
Britannia 2014 was a major commission which comprises richly coloured textile forms that cascade down 3 floors of the Gallery’s central atrium.
The explosion of suspended, swelling forms, textures and colours contrast dramatically with the cold metal, glass and rigid order of the architecture.
The organic forms are 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 dazzling patchwork of patterns, shapes and textures.
This (then) new piece is part of the iconic Valkyries series, sculptures inspired by female figures in Norse mythology who decide which soldiers live and die on the battlefield.

Team Credits

Maria Balshaw

  • Message
  • Director of the Tate art museums and galleries.

Project Tags

Inspired by this project? Showcase projects you’ve worked on and inspire other people.

Post your project
Maria Balshaw
Director of the Tate art museums and galleries.