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Venice 2013: Joana Vasconcelos

For Portugal’s participation in the 55th la Biennale di Venezia, artist Joana Vasconcelos is presenting Trafaria Praia, a project in which a cacilheiro, or Lisbon ferryboat, is transformed into a floating pavilion and artwork. Federica Patti of Larete Art Projects interviews the artist onsite. The Trafaria Praia project addresses the commonalities between Lisbon and Venice, both cities that played historical roles in broadening the European worldview during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. It looks at the contact zone between them today by considering three aspects they share: water, navigation, and the vessel. Vasconcelos is, thus, deterritorialising territory, which is intended as an idealistic gesture—a metaphorical circumvention of the power struggles that often mark international relations.

The outside of the ship is covered with a panel of blue-and-white azulejos (hand-painted, tin-glazed ceramic tiles) that reproduces a contemporary view of Lisbon’s skyline. On its deck, she created an environment made of textiles and light—a complex medley of blue-and-white fabrics all over the ceiling and walls, from which crocheted pieces, intertwined with LEDs, emerge to create a womblike, surreal atmosphere.

The Clocktower Gallery has partnered with LaRete Art Projects to bring you roving reports from the 55th Venice Biennale. LaRete Art Projects is dedicated to research and support of new artistic strategies.


Venice Biennale


Round table discussions to interviews to DJ sets to virtual pavilions rendered in music and sound. With Kara Walker, Carolee Shneeman, Joan Jonas, Michelangelo Pistoletto, and more.