MAAT museum is currently hosting an exhibition by the Portuguese visual artist Joana Vasconcelos for her solo show, Plug-in. This exhibition brings together Vasconcelos’ new works with her iconic pieces. Known for her monumental sculptures and immersive installations, Vasconcelos contextualizes everyday objects to shape the art and craft movement of the 21st century.
Opened on September 29, 2023, the exhibition creates an intriguing dialogue between the heritage of electricity, technology, and contemporary art. The works are displayed in both the MAAT Central building (former power plant) and the MAAT Gallery.
At MAAT Central, Joana Vasconcelos presents ‘Árvore da Vida / Tree of Life (2023)’. A visit to MAAT Central is always worthwhile, especially now, with the impressive tree showcased in the large industrial hall.
As you walk from MAAT Central to MAAT Gallery, you’ll discover two artworks along the banks of the Tagus River, previously exhibited at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao: the mirror mask ‘I’ll Be Your Mirror (2019)‘ and the giant Solitaire ring (2018).
Amidst the Tentacles – an Enchanting Encounter with Valkyrie Octopus Together with our two daughters aged 6 and 9, we visited MAAT specifically to see Valkyrie Octopus (2015). I had heard that it would be truly impressive to stand in the oval space surrounded by the octopus, and that proved to be entirely true! It was an unforgettable experience to walk so close and through the tentacles of the octopus.
The Valkyrie Octopus, composed of countless fabrics and lights, exerts an irresistible allure. Wandering among the tentacles was genuinely awe-inspiring, and we simply couldn’t get enough. In the vicinity of this magnificent artwork, we discovered seating areas that we gratefully used to admire the object from all perspectives. Valkyrie Octopus, originally created for the MGM Macau casino, now proudly hangs in the Oval Gallery of MAAT.
In the MAAT Gallery, you can admire a total of seven works, including the brand-new ‘Drag Race (2023)’. Two conventional vehicles have been transformed into artworks, with the first extravagantly adorned with gilded cuttings and feathers, and the second covered in toy guns and filled with stuffed animals.
Next to the two cars, there’s another art installation, ‘Strangers in the Night (2000)’. This installation forms a captivating dialogue between technology and contemporary art.
The Plug-in exhibition, on display at MAAT until March 25, 2024, offers a fascinating journey through Joana Vasconcelos’ electric art world, where past and present converge in a sparkling dialogue between art and technology.