Joana Vasconcelos brings art, colour and a touch of controversy to Versailles


Gigantic creations by Portuguese artist Joana Vasconcelos adorn the Palace of Versailles this summer, bringing feminist caricatures of macho attitudes to women to this pinnacle of male power, the Sun King's residence. But although the palace is now presided over by a queen – Nicolas Sarkozy appointed a former advisor, Catherine Pégard, to run it – not all Vasconcelos’s conceptions were welcomed with open arms. Mediapart’s Philippe Riès reviews the exhibition.

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If it were not for Joana Vasconcelos, the Palace of Versailles this summer would still be the historical version of Luna Park for Chinese tourists it has become, with its hideous ticket office in the famous Cour d’Honneur. But this young Portuguese artist, chosen for the annual summer exhibition of contemporary art at the Sun King's palace, has shaken up the monarchical pomp the French Republic so loves with her boundless humour and outlandish imagination, her genius for transforming everyday objects and love of the extremely large.