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    Sale 7738

    Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Auction

    30 June 2009, London, King Street

  • Lot 31

    Joana Vasconcelos (b. 1971)

    Golden Independent Heart

    Price Realised  


    Joana Vasconcelos (b. 1971)
    Golden Independent Heart
    translucent yellow plastic cutlery, painted iron, motor, metallic chain and accompanying CD
    151 5/8 x 88 5/8 x 19¾in. (385 x 225 x 50cm.)
    Executed in 2004
    Music interpreted by Amália Rodrigues: Estranha Forma de Vida (Alfredo Rodrigo Duarte Amália Rodrigues), Maldição (Joaquim Campos da Silva Armando Vieira Pinto), Gaivota (Alain Oulman Alexandre ONeill), Authorized by IPLAY Som e Imagem, Lda, (P) Valentim de Carvalho, SA

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    Joana Vasconcelos' monumental Golden Independent Heart fuses one of the most distinctive motifs of Portuguese culture with the most quotidian of materials to create a remarkable work of sensuous splendour. Executed in 2004, this meticulously crafted filigree heart is the first in a group of three differently coloured sculptures inspired by the Coração de Viana, a traditional Portuguese pendant often given to newly wedded brides to bring good luck to their marriage. Where the colours of the red and black versions symbolize love and death respectively, the present work explicitly refers to wealth. Yet, where Viana hearts are typically wrought in gold wire, Vasconcelos has here fashioned its intricate arabesques from yellow plastic cutlery, painstakingly pieced together over a metal frame. In doing so, she seeks to convert globally homogenous goods into something with specific local connotations, whilst apparently commenting ironically on the realities of domestic duties. The humble nature of the chosen materials confuse the reading of an apparently romantic emblem, which, combined with its elaborate artisanship suggests it is both a celebration and parody of Portuguese life. Much like Vasconcelos' celebrated sculpture, A Noiva (The Bride, 2001), a larger-than-life chandelier constructed of thousands of tampons, this work provokes the viewer to consider both the overall structure of the sculpture and its component parts. 'I try to work with items that might be around the house,' she has explained, 'to conceptualise them, give them a new life and a new form, and then make them become a part of a larger object' (J. Vasconcelos quoted in A. Pérez Rubio, From Micro to Macro and Vice Versa on http://joanavasconcelos.com/english/PerezRubio.pdf)

    The visually compelling nature of Golden Independent Heart is lent a further sensory dimension with its accompanying soundtrack, which was also chosen for its significance to Portuguese culture. Suspended from the ceiling, the plastic heart revolves slowly and constantly to a recording by Amália Rodrigues, the legendary 'Queen of Fado', singing a mournful love song whose lyrics are echoed in the title of the work. Vasconcelos' ideas clearly follow on from a 'Pop' sensibility, channelling far-ranging influences from Marcel Duchamp, Claes Oldenburg, and Jeff Koons. Yet whilst Golden Independent Heart may evoke Koons' charmed hearts, indeed the red version hung juxtaposed with a Koons work at the recent Garage Centre for Contemporary Sculpture opening in Moscow, the work only bears a superficial resemblance to the elder artist's work. For although she shares a similar interest in luxury and craft, Vasconcelos' artistic vocabulary is firmly rooted in the vernacular of her native country and her perspective as a woman, allowing her to examine notions of gender, status, and national identity.

    Special Notice

    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.
    Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.


    Acquired directly from the artist by the present owner.


    A. Pérez Rubio, Play, Porto 2005.
    Instituto Camões (ed.), Portugal em Bruxelas, Lisbon 2007 (illustrated in colour, p. 2).
    Adiac, Corda Seca (ed.), Joana Vasconcelos, Lisbon 2007 (illustrated in colour, pp. 118-119).


    Brussels, Justus Lipsius Building, Crossing Dialogues, Joana Vasconcelos vs. Carlos Bunga, July-December 2007.