Sculptures inspired by the female figures from Norse mythology who flew over battlefields, bringing the bravest warriors back to life to join the deities in Valhalla, Joana Vasconcelos' Valkyries are made from textile materials, using a variety of fabrics, crochet and ornamental trimmings. The end result is a surprising play of volumes, textures and colours, which uses skilled craftsmanship and brings the link between arts and crafts into the 21st century. Composed of a central body, head, tail and various arms, many of the Valkyries also combine handicrafts with technology, through the insertion of light which - simulating vibration and breathing - gives them movement and life. In this particular case, the artist used noble fabrics that take us back to the Silk Road and the interconnection between Portuguese and Macanese traditions in a site-specific creation for MGM Macau.

The “Valkyrie” in the centre nave is stunning. Named Valkyrie Octopus, and created in 2015, its majestic size dazzles through the management of colours, the richness of its fabrics, the fantasy of its lighting and the luxuriance of the tiled supports that both suggest structural columns and the presence of porticos of a poetic palace whose bulk soars. Out of the various “Valkyries” I have seen, this is perhaps the most lyrical, the most delicate and the one that invites us to a gentler state.
Valter Hugo Mãe
I've made numerous Valkyries. The Valkyrie at MAAT is a piece created for Macau. It's for a major square, a multi-purpose event space with boutiques and restaurants, for which they wanted a piece. In that space there was a gigantic blue aquarium 10 metres tall, and they wanted an additional piece in Lisbon's tones. Light colours, like the ones we see on the façades of Lisbon's buildings, washed by the sunset. A piece with blue as the dominant colour, inspired by the sea and the river, consistent with the aquarium and reflective of Portugal's relationship with water. This was a very important dimension in this piece. The work we see at MAAT is not exactly the same as the one that was in Macau, because it has been greatly adapted. There is a new relationship with the space here, and it's this chameleon-like side of the Valkyries that is very interesting, because they create a unique dialogue with the spaces. Every time they are in a space, they create a specific dialogue with it. There's a very metaphorical aspect to it, and that's beautiful. It doesn't even look like the same piece.
Joana Vasconcelos
© Luís Vasconcelos
© Luís Vasconcelos
© Luís Vasconcelos
© Luís Vasconcelos
Artwork Details
13,75 x 16,3 x 34 m
Handmade cotton crochet, felt appliqués, industrial knitted fabric, fabrics, LED, ornaments, inflatable, fans, power supply unit, steel cables
Artwork produced in collaboration with artisans of Nisa.
Artwork exhibited at
28/09/2023 > 31/03/2024Plug-In
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