These sculptural installations, named “Marilyn” are really remarkable to look at and deconstruct, which makes it no surprise that they have traveled the globe over the years, showing in private galleries in Seoul to the Château de Versailles. The south end of the the palace’s ‘hall of mirrors’ where ceremonies and important events in the history of France were staged, hosts “Marilyn”, a pair of high-heeled sandals constructed from the repeated arrangement of stainless steel pans and lids. “Marylin” was inspired by the high-heel shoes worn by Marylin Monroe in the infamous clip from “The Seven Year Itch”, when the blond bombshell walks over an air-vent.
The mammoth-scale high heels, made by Paris-born artist Joana Vasconcelos, creates a Gulliver effect, and are an ode to women’s achievements both on public and private spheres. The selected medium of which the shoes are made are a reference to the armors of the warriors who fought in the dutch war (1672-1678) and in the war of devolution (1667-1668). Charles Le Brun’s subject matters for his ceiling paintings and medallions – and the mirrors that decorate the arcade team up in a disconcerting game of reflections, multiplying the space ad infinitum. The sandals refers the visitor to the accomplishments of the absent female figure, as grandiose as the glories celebrated by Louis XIV through the paintings of Le Brun, reflected on the cold metallic surface of “Marilyn”.
“Interpreting the dense mythology of Versailles, transporting it into the contemporary world, and evoking the presence of the important female figures that have lived here, while drawing on my identity and my experience as a Portuguese woman born in France, will certainly be the most fascinating challenge of my career .” - Joana Vasconcelos