Crochet as Art: Joana Vasconceloscomments (9) April 9th, 2008
I can’t even remember how I first came across the work of Joana Vasconcelos, but it must have been in one of my Web crawls.
Joana is an artist living in Oeiras, Portugal, who transforms manufactured items into works of art, often by incorporating crochet. Joana starts with mass-produced porcelain statues—which are very common in Portugal—and individualizes them with hand-crocheted covers. She’s interested in exploring issues of modern consumerism, as well as cultural and personal identity and gender roles.
Her work is also about democratizing objects. From a discourse on her Web site: “Today, there are objects … that anyone can appreciate as being cool and trendy … There are objects that have changed status in this way. Status of people—of objects—changes; it isn’t static. Things that are banal today might belong in high culture tomorrow.”
“The crochet pieces are great fun … because the viewer might think, ‘Gosh, that’s just like the crochet back at home, just like my Grandma’s or my Mum’s!’ Then they think, ‘Actually, it’s in bad taste. But I like it because I find in it a certain identity, something I recognize. It’s like what I have at home, but now I’m seeing it in an artistic context. So if it’s here, that means it’s good. Then why am I thinking it’s bad?’”
She also uses the crochet work to draw the viewer in (it’s often said that the average person spends about 30 seconds in front of a piece of art). According to Joana, “Handcraft gives you three things: time, repetition, and then, when things are repeated over and over again, they become abstract.” She thinks of the crochet as a drawing or pattern on the work.
Be sure to check out the fantastic images on her Web site. Whether you’re interested in them as an artistic statement or as wonderful crochet work, you’re sure to be inspired.