A New Look at Versailles

In 2012 Paris-born Lisbon-based artist Joana Vasconcelos took over the Palace of Versailles in France with her large sculptural works as part of the Chateau’s annual contemporary art exhibition.

The south end of the palace’s Hall of Mirrors, where ceremonies and important events in the history of France were staged, hosts “Marilyn 2011”, a pair of high-heeled sandals constructed from the repeated arrangement of stainless steel pans and lids. The mammoth-scale high heels, 
standing within this vast hall, creates a Gulliver effect, and are an ode to women’s achievements both on public and private spheres.

Marilyn 2011 by Joana Vasconcelos
Marilyn 2011 by Joana Vasconcelos
Pans and Shoes.  Photo by Sherila Tony/Flickr.com
Pans and Shoes. Photo by Sherila Tony/Flickr.com
A Bell 47 helicopter decorated with ostrich feathers by Joana Vasconcelos
A Bell 47 helicopter decorated with ostrich feathers by Joana Vasconcelos

This Bell 47 helicopter has been decorated in the same vein as Versaille’s aesthetic universe, covered in gold leaf with thousands of rhinestones embedded on its exterior.  The cockpit and blades seem to have been invaded by an extravagant and colorful
 coat of ostrich feathers that have been dyed in hues of salmon, pink and orange.  Truly a time-machine to transports the queen into our current day.

In the Galarie des Batailles is an installation of handmade woolen crochet, industrial knitted fabric, fabrics, ornaments, polyester, and steel cables called “Royal Valkyrie”

Royal Valkyrie Joana Vasconcelos jvv05

On the morning of October 6, 1789, the revolutionary crowd invaded the Salle des Gardes de la Reine at Versailles.  Prior to being struck down, one of the guards managed to crack the antechamber’s door open and shout ‘Sauvez la Reine!’ (“Save the Queen!”)

Joana Vasconcelos created these two lions entrapped in crocheted lace and placed them in the same Salle des Gardes de la Reine at Versailles to tell us about power by artfully manipulating opposites – masculine/feminine; power/subservience; strength/fragility; robustness/delicacy; imprisonment/protection.  They force the collapse of gender inequality and comes forth as the loyal keeper of women’s accomplishments.

Crocheted Lions created by artist Joana Vasconcelos
Crocheted Lions created by artist Joana Vasconcelos

To read more about these unusual works of art go to http://www.designboom.com/art/joana-vasconcelos-at-versailles/

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