Lot 1
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Joana Vasconcelos

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  • Joana Vasconcelos
  • Fruit Cake
  • plastic sand moulds and stainless steel
  • 287 by 250 by 250cm.
  • 113 by 98 1/2 by 98 1/2 in.


Manchester, Manchester Art Gallery, Time Machine, 2014
Bad Homburg, Kurpark, Blickachsen 10, 2015
Waddesdon, Buckinghamshire, Waddesdon Manor, Feast Weekend at Waddesdon, 2016


Joana Vasconcelos has long been established as one of Portugal’s leading international Contemporary artists. Her work typically deals with social and political issues, as well as matters of gender and feminism. In 2012 she was invited to exhibit at the Palace of Versailles, in an event which honoured her as the first woman and youngest artist ever to exhibit there; her exhibition caused a sensation and attracted over 1.5 million visitors.

Fruit Cake comes from Vasconcelos’s ‘Treats’ series, in which the artist explores ideas and imagery which pertain to our contemporary consumerist culture. The monumental form of a cupcake is outlined via a steel frame and built up from plastic moulds typically used by children when playing with sand. The moulds are vivid in colour and shaped like various fruits and pretzels. Combining immensely exaggerated scale with captivating colours, Vasconcelos references commercial strategies of temptation as products are continually made bigger and brighter. The simple steel frame, however, is a reminder of the hollowness of the culture, where sales are pinned on strategies of seduction rather than substance. 

Fruit Cake was exhibited in June 2016 at Waddesdon Manor’s Big Lunch to celebrate Her Majesty The Queen’s 90th birthday.