On View: Joana Vasconcelos’s “Time Machine” at the Manchester Art Gallery

by Amelia Taylor-HochbergPosted on


Brittania (2014). © Unidade Infinita Projectos.

There is a wrinkle in Joana Vasconcelos’s space-time. Her colorful and audacious sculptural work is composed mostly of recognizable objects, transformed by a costume of a wolf or sheep’s clothing (depending on your angle, really) to resemble artifacts from a past or future time, or perhaps another universe altogether. Materialistically, the gaze lingers on tactility — many of her pieces include fabrics and textiles in booming colors, delicately wrapping a nude statue or bursting in succulent stuffings.

There are animal statues completely ensconced in lace, helicopters dressed in ostrich feathers, rowboats caught in luxurious nets, and cars plastered with toy guns, all completely to scale. Other sculptures are comically oversized, ice-cream cones as tall as lampposts and stilettos twice a woman’s height. Each is composed neatly and carefully, masquerading as the true artifact from a new, slightly separate time from our own. Currently, her mega-show “Time Machine” is on display at the Manchester Art Gallery through June 1, featuring many of her large-scale sculptures from the past few years and a giant, bespoke textile piece for the gallery’s atrium.


Brittania (2014). © Unidade Infinita Projectos.


Brittania (2014). © Unidade Infinita Projectos.


Lilicoptere (2012), © Luís Vasconcelos/Courtesy Unidade Infinita Projectos | Château de Versailles.


Lilicoptere (2012), © Luís Vasconcelos/Courtesy Unidade Infinita Projectos | Château de Versailles.


Lilicoptere (2012), © Luís Vasconcelos/Courtesy Unidade Infinita Projectos | Château de Versailles.

Maria Pia (2013). © Unidade Infinita Projectos.

Sibyl Vane (2013). © Unidade Infinita Projectos.


Full Steam Ahead. © Peter Mallet / Courtesy Haunch of Venison.


War Games (2011). DMF, Lisbon/© Unidade Infinita Projectos.

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