The exhibition will feature the world premiere of a monumental new textile work that has been specially commissioned as a site-specific installation for Manchester Art Gallery’s atrium and staircase.
Full Steam Ahead
Three of Vasconcelos’ robotic sculptures entitled Full Steam Ahead are shown together for the first time. Made from domestic steam irons, curiously in the colours of the Portuguese flag, they resemble the petals of flowers which open and close. The synchronised and balletic movement of the ‘petals’, slowly unfurling, results in the release of steam when the ‘flower’ opens. The hiss of steam and heat stimulate our senses, creating a hot and humid robotic flower garden. This work celebrates female sexuality and is an intersection between familiar domestic objects and a science fiction world.
BOSCH steam irons, PLC gearmotor, microprocessor-based electronic control unit, low pressure hydraulic system, stainless steel, demineralized water 155 x Ø 170 cm Collection of the artist. Work produced with the support of Robert Bosch Hausgeräte GmbH.
Photo: © Peter Mallet / Courtesy Haunch of Venison
War Games 2011
In War Games 2010 the interior and exterior of a black 1960s Morris Oxford depict contrasting worlds. Outside, the car is decorated with toy rifles facing backwards and strips of red LEDs switch on and off to simulate speed, like the lines representing movement in a comic. Inside it is filled with colourful cuddly toys, squeaking and moving, oblivious to each other, in an obvious reference to the world of children. The simulated movement also represents the passing of time – the war-like armoured car alludes to destruction and loss of life whereas the toys symbolise birth, creating an uneasy tension between life and death.
Morris Oxford VI, toy rifles, plush and plastic toys, LEDs, electronic controllers 175 x 185 x 435 cm Collection of the artist Work commissioned by Modelo Continente Hipermercados, S.A.
Photo: DMF, Lisbon/© Unidade Infinita Projectos
Lilicoptère 2012 is the artist’s vision of what Marie Antoinette would be travelling in, if she were alive today. A Bell 47 helicopter is adorned with pink ostrich feathers, Swarovski Crystals and gold leaf. The sumptuous interior reveals intricate woodworks, embroidered upholstery, gilding and Arraiolos rugs. The work plays with contradictions – it is part bird, part machine, the ostrich feathers have been dyed a flamingo pink and a symbol of power is also one of delicacy. The metamorphosis from machine to animal is a reminder of man’s early dream of flying and suggests the future of travel in time. Lilicoptère combines kitsch with glamour and opulence on an impressive scale, in a dazzling showcase of technical skill.
Bell 47 helicopter, ostrich feathers, Swarovski crystals, gold leaf, industrial coating, dyed leather upholstery embossed with fine gold, Arraiolos rugs, walnut wood, wood grain painting, passementerie 300 x 274 x 1265 cm Courtesy Haunch of Venison/Christie’s, London. Work produced in collaboration with Fundação Ricardo do Espírito Santo Silva, Lisbon.
Photo: © Luís Vasconcelos/Courtesy Unidade Infinita Projectos | Château de Versailles
It is a privilege to see my work go on show in Manchester Art Gallery’s remarkable spaces. I am particularly proud of the dialogue established between Manchester Art Gallery’s collection and my works, as well as the interaction between the city’s history and traditions and other realities of entirely different provenances – such as those specific to my homeland. Time Machine will certainly be one of the most challenging and noteworthy shows of my career.
Important sculptures such as Maria Pia 2013 (from the Bordalos series) and Big Booby #2 2011 is being shown in the UK for the first time. While new works are also being realised specifically for the exhibition, such as a new addition to the three-dimensional series of Crochet Paintings, produced in response to the 18th century works on display.
Maria Pia 2013
Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro faience painted with ceramic glaze, tatting, handmade cotton crochet 135 x 78 x 105 cm Collection of the artist
© Unidade Infinita Projectos
Handmade woollen knitting and crochet, fabrics, ornaments, polystyrene, polyester, steel cables
Photo: © Unidade Infinita Projectos
Sibyl Vane 2013
Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro faience painted with ceramic glaze, handmade cotton crochet 14 x 50 x 67 cm Collection of the artist
Photo: © Unidade Infinita Projectos