Humour in sculpture

The first portuguese artist to have her own exhibition in the Guggenhaim Bilbao. This famous sculptress has a sense of humour that explores the duality of life, in which there is a conflict between the public and private, luxury and austerity, and she questions sociopolitical issues in the world and those that surround women as a gender. To create these contradictions In her work, Joanna Vasconcelos uses everyday items such as pots, pans, mirrors, irons, tampons, etc.

All through the Vasc museum, a gigantic Valkyrie that slides in each crevice of the museum is adorned by coulourful crochet art made by the 20 artisans who during 2 years helped her build Egeria. Using this skill in her artwork, the sculptor tries to highlight the contributions of women who work.

And outside, Solitario, a reference to the single diamond of an engagement ring. Juxtaposing male and female through the use of whisky glasses and Mercedes wheel hubs to make a woman’s jewelry item.

How to revamp a city

Frank Gehry was the architect appointed to build this museum which was inaugurated on 18 October 1997. An engineering project that cost 89 million dollars and was done on time and on budget. The project was the result of a partnership between the Basque government and the Guggenheim foundation; the government would fund the building in the decaying port area and in exchange the Foundation would manage a permanent exhibit and rotate temporary exhibitions.

This was an attempt on revitalizing the economy of this industrial port city. In the first 3 years four million people visited resulting in 500 million euro injection to the economy. A fifth of that the government recouped in taxes and paid for the investment. Nowadays about a million people visit the museum per year.

There are not many buildings in the world that look like this one.