A mysterious creature? A futuristic spaceship? There was lots of speculation going on at the Bon Marché Rive Gauche last Wednesday about the monumental shape, all curves and lights, that was created by Portuguese artist Joana Vasconcelos (which she dubbed Simone). The work, which the artist describes as a “Valkyrie” (a warrior goddess who flew over battlefields in search of the souls of the most valiant warriors), is in line with the feminist approach used throughout her work—like “The Bride,” a six-meter chandelier made of tampons presented at the Venice Biennale in 2005. This winter, the Parisian department store on Rue de Sèvres has given her carte blanche to invest its space with “Branco Luz” (“White Light”), following exhibitions by Ai Weiwei in 2016, Chiharu Shiota in 2017 and Leandro Erlich in 2018. In January 1873, Aristide Boucicaut, founder of Le Bon Marché, imagined “White Month,” with sales on household linens after the desperately empty shelves were cleared out for Christmas and New Year celebrations. In tribute to this tradition, Joana Vasconcelos designed an installation around variations of white textures, all woven and assembled by hand in her workshop. The organic shapes of “Simone” overhung guests including Isabelle Huppert, Ana Girardot, Monica de la Villardière and Diane Rouxel, to name a few. The event included Portuguese appetizers and a fado concert by singer Paulo Brançanga in tribute to the artist’s country of origin, immersing guests in Joana Vasconcelos’s divine and symbolic universe.

Photos: Jean Picon & Valentin Le Cron
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