Joana Vasconcelos at Versailles: the first woman and the youngest artist to show her artwork in the setting of the Palace.

Following previous exhibitions dedicated to Jeff Koons and Takashi Murakami, the Palace of Versailles presents a unique exhibition of Portuguese contemporary art painter Joana Vasconcelos in the Versailles’ State Apartments and the gardens, displayed from 19 June to 30 September 2012. Joana Vasconcelos is the first woman and the youngest artist to show her work in the setting of the Palace.

A Portuguese artist born in France, Vasconcelos is interpreting the dense mythology of Versailles, transporting it into the contemporary world, and evoking the presence of the important female figures that have lived here.

“My work has developed around the idea that the world is an opera, and Versailles embodies the operatic and aesthetic ideal that inspires me. The works that I propose exist for this place,” explaines Joana Vasconcelos.

“I see them as linked to Versailles in a timeless way. When I stroll through the rooms of the Palace and its Gardens, I feel the energy of a setting that gravitates between reality and dreams, the everyday and magic, the festive and the tragic. I can still hear the echo of the footsteps of Marie-Antoinette, and the music and festive ambiance of the stately rooms. How would the life of Versailles look if this exuberant and grandiose universe was transferred to our period?” added Joana Vasconcelos.

Visitors are welcomed at the Gabriel staircase by Mary Poppins, a vast tentacular body made from an original mix of textiles and pre-existing objects, an assembly of industrial textures and hand-sewn fabrics.

The Hall of Mirrors, the setting for sumptuous ceremonies and important events in the history of humanity, hosts Marilyn, an elegant pair of court shoes whose amplified scale is achieved by the accumulation of stainless steel pots and lids.