Adriana Varejão About
One of the most original voices in contemporary Brazilian art, Adriana Varejão’s diverse practice comprises painting, sculpture, photography and installation. Her sources are many – baroque art, colonial history, architectural ruins, natural sciences and theatre. Blurring the boundaries between painting and sculpture, Varejão’s previous series’ of work chart a unique development of ideas and common thread of research. From the mid-1990s, the artist explored two juxtaposing motifs within her practice -flesh and tiles (or azulejos). The Jerked-beef ruin series (2000 – 2004) are likened to contemporary ruins, where the painted surfaces of floor and wall-based sculptural works are violently ruptured to expose a visceral flesh-like interior, providing a stark contrast to the cold tiled surface.
Varejão’s large monochromatic paintings from the ongoing Sauna series demonstrate perfect control of light and shade to represent idealised, contemporary tiled interiors and swimming baths. Upholding the visual poetics and conceptual impulses of her earlier practice, the fine colour gradations of these paintings enliven their otherwise chromatic uniformity whilst the grids that constitute these works recall their use in modernist aesthetics. One of the artist’s largest projects to date recently opened at Inhotim Centro de Arte Contemporânea, Brazil – a specially commissioned pavilion designed in collaboration with architect Rodrigeo Cervino Lopez.
Born in 1964, Adriana Varejão currently lives and works in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. A major retrospective of her work, Histórias às margens (Histories at the margins), was displayed at the Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo, São Paulo (2012), travelling subsequently to MALBA – Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (2013), and Museu de Arte Moderna, Rio de Janeiro (2013). She has held solo exhibitions at The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, USA (2014 – 2015); Museu de Arte da Pampulha, Belo Horizonte, Brazil (2008); Hara Museum, Tokyo (2007); Fondation Cartier Pour L’Art Contemporain, Paris (2005); Centro Cultural de Belém, Lisbon (2005); Domus Artium (DA2), Salamanca (2005); Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil, Rio de Janeiro (2001); and Bildmuseet, Umeå, Sweden (2000). The artist’s work has been widely exhibited within large-scale group exhibitions in institutions including Fondation Cartier Pour l’Art Contemporain, Paris (2014); Museu de Arte do Rio, Rio de Janeiro (2014); Kulturhuset Stadsteatern, Stockholm (2014); Wexner Center for the Arts, Ohio (2014); Astrup Fearnley Museum, Oslo (2013); Musée d’art contemporain de Lyon (2013); Fundação Bienal de São Paulo (2013); Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil, Rio de Janeiro (2012); 12th International Istanbul Biennial, Istanbul (2011); Instituto Valencianp de Arte Moderno, Valencia (2011); Fundação de Arte Moderna e Contemporânea, Lisboa (2010); 4th Bucharest Biennale, Bucherest (2008); BildMuseet, Umeå, Sweden (2008); Nassau County Museum of Art, New York (2007); and the Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York (2007). A permanent pavilion devoted to Adriana Varejaõ’s work opened in 2008 at Centro de Arte Contemporánea Inhotim in Brazil.