Walsall, UK

Joana Vasconcelos

The New Art Gallery

The young Portuguese artist Joana Vasconcelos gained broader recognition when one of her major works, A noiva (The Bride), 2001, was included in the 2005 Venice Biennale: At the entrance to the Arsenale hung an outsize chandelier, an elegant structure, nearly twenty feet high, in which the artist had replaced the traditional crystal pendants with cotton tampons—around twenty-five thousand in all. By associating an object characteristic of sumptuous palatial salons with the traditional bridal gown on one hand and taboos of feminine sexuality on the other, Vasconcelos created a powerful metaphor for contemporary womanhood, still captive to the dictates of a phallocentric civilization.

This work, installed in the large foyer of the New Art Gallery Walsall, where Vasconcelos brought together a broad selection of her output for the first time, encapsulates the artist’s technique and subject

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