Vanessa Barragão Portugal, b. 1992


The Portuguese artist, Vanessa Barragão, works within the realm of fibre art. As a textile designer, the artist draws her inspiration from nature, which impulses the processes, themes, shapes and colours she explores throughout her creations. Showing a special capacity for scale, Barragão produces sculptural wall-mounted or suspended installations that oscillate between non-representational compositions and references to either landscapes of surfaces and textures, to body organs or to some unidentified creatures. Using mainly wool, tencel and jute and mixing techniques such as crochet, knotting, braiding and other fibre manipulations, Barragão creates organic forms and patterns that proliferate across the surface, often calling to mind seabeds with their diversity of marine organisms, corals, algaes, pebbles and shells. The artist also integrates LED lighting systems within the textile panels, thus creating luminous and immersive displays.


In line with the modernist movement of fibre sculpture, which was developed from the mid-twentieth century onwards, Barragão appropriates and redefines age-old techniques and traditional materials according to refreshing and innovative approaches. As previous pioneers artists in the field of fibre art did, such as Françoise Grossen, when they first broke with the rectangle, with the frame and then with the wall, thus expanding the medium’s possibilities, Barragão experiments with spatiality, gravity, and dimensionality while transcending the materials’ weight and constraints. 


Beyond her deep connection to nature, seasons and cycles, the artist also embraces an environmental sensibility and vision. Her approach not only involves practices of recycling and reconversion of left-overs and scraps coming from the textile industry, but also embodies the new trend towards slowing down growth along with the processes of transformation and production.


The textile artist and designer, Vanessa Barragão, lives and works in Algarve (Portugal). During her formation in fashion design at ULisboa (2010-2016), she founded the Studio Vanessa Barragão in Albufeira and became director of Fábrica Artesanal Tapetes Beiriz in 2016. Her works have been exhibited in several collective exhibitions worldwide among which Festival Iminente in Lisbon (2022), “(Im)materiality” at Not a Museum, Lisbon and CCA, Águeda PT (2022), “Flora | Fauna | Fibre: Textiles in Contemporary Art” at Mary M. Torggler Fine Arts Center, USA (2022), ”The Art of Mushrooms” at Museu Serralves, Porto (2022), “Crafting A More Human Future - Homo Faber Event” at Fondazioni Giorgio Cini, Venezia, IT (2022), “Pour L’Amour du Fil”: Salon International des Arts du Fil at Grand Palace, Nantes, FR (2022), “Tools for Conviviality”, at Cheongju Craft Biennale, Cheongju, KR (2021),  “Underneath the Serene Sky at CoBrA Gallery, in Shanghai, PRC (2021) and ”Threads + Colour 2’” at KPC Yarn, SYD, AU (2017).


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