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With the help of a studio of 55 people, Portuguese artist Joana Vasconcelos creates dreamlike sculptures big enough to overshadow the Palace of Versailles. Words by FREIRE BARNES Photography by PEDRO GUIMARAES

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hen I arrive at Joana Vasconcelos’s atelier it’s a hive of activity. Located in the Port of Lisbon in a former cereals storehouse, builders are noisily working on the studio’s expansion while women are cheerfully knitting around a table and men are meticulously sewing beads. Shelves are flled with boxes of all manner of coloured yarn and rolls of fabric are stacked against a wall. Sculptures are scattered around, some complete, others a work in progress. Hanging from the ceiling is one of the Portuguese artist’s versions of the iconic fligree heart of Viana, but instead of fne gold, it’s made out of red plastic forks. The 44-year-old artist has made a name for herself with her innovative use of recognizable objects and materials transformed into the unexpected. “Sculpture doesn’t have any rules,” she says of her immense pieces that incorporate traditional artisanal crafts, including embroidered textiles and ceramics. “I choose the materials not because of what they are, but because

Baku Magazine - Issue 18  

Baku Magazine - Issue 18 Winter 2015

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