Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro faience painted with ceramic glaze,
handmade cotton crochet
58 x 20 x 41 cm
22.8 x 7.8 x 16 in
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The group of pieces in ceramics and crochet are inscribed in the series of works created from a limited set of faience pieces designed by Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro (1846-1905); unanimously placed amongst the most renowned Portuguese artists of the 19th century. The appropriation carried out by Joana Vasconcelos, in the scope of Bordalo Pinheiro's vast production in ceramics, only includes the naturalist representation of animals - some of them rendered oversize - whose proximity to Man might generate discomfort, awe or fear. Wasps; lizards and snakes; crabs and lobsters; frogs; bull-heads; donkey-heads and horse-heads; wolves; or even cats with an aggressive posture are ambiguously imprisoned/protected by a second-skin in crochet-work, producing a discourse apt to renovate the fluxes of signification associated with the usual relationships between popular culture/erudite culture and tradition/modernity. The use of crochet in a paradoxical imprisonment/protection of the animals, thus relegated to the domestic context, opens up a vast and rich field of interpretation released by the beauty and strangeness generated by the result of the operation.