Hovering over the entrance of Maastricht, the Netherlands, the world’s biggest art fair, is a monumental crochet and knit sculpture assemblage by Portuguese artist Joana Vasconcelos that she calls “Mary Poppins.” But there’s no welcome at the art fair entrance with this work.
While the title of this assemblage conjures up the magical umbrella-wielding nanny popularized by children’s book writer P.L Travers, it defies it. No Chim Chim Cher-ee comes to mind or Julie Andrews as Mary in the Disney production, either. With six giant serpentine arms this “Mary Poppins” may take after the fictional character getting blown by the east wind onto Cherry-Tree Lane, London, but it suggests some leviathan wet bird out of Jurassic Park that quickly puts you on guard.
This same work showed at Versailles in 2010 and it was there that the artist made clear what she was about: “My work has developed around the idea that the world is an opera, and Versailles embodies the operatic and aesthetic ideal that inspires me.”
Maybe she sees an operative air at Maastricht owing to the selling of Old Master worth billions. Can it be that the excesses the artist is celebrating – er, railing against is Mary Poppins’ excesses, such as her saccharin do-goodness? Can it be that the six long arms of her “Mary Poppins” are not so much protective as they are smothering?
I’m just asking.
She’s got nerve, this artist. http://www.examiner.com/article/what-makes-an-artist-famous At Versailles, she also showed an assemblage she called “The Bride,” which is made entirely of white tampons.