Adriana Varejão

Adriana Varejão


Adriana Varejao, Distancia (Distance), 1996. 
Colección Instituto Figuereido Ferraz. Foto: Sérgio Guerini.

April 8, 2013

Adriana Varejão
Histórias at the Margins
April 10–June 10, 2013

Opening: Monday, April 8, 7pm

Malba – Fundación Costantini
Avda. Figueroa Alcorta 3415
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Hours: Thursdays–Mondays 12–8pm, 
Wednesdays 12–9pm, closed Tuesdays

T 54 11 4808 6500
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Curated by Adriano Pedrosa

Malba opens the 2013 season with Histórias at the Margins, the first survey exhibition of Adriana Varejão, one of the leading painters of her generation. Varejão’s work rescues and intertwines many histories, weaving together multiple narratives and references—from art history to religious art, from ceramic tiles to pottery, from China to Brazil, from colonial iconography to the images produced by European travellers and the art of the 19th-century academy, from the geometrization of architectural space to geometrical abstraction and the modernist grid, from landscapes and seascapes to maps. One element appears as a leitmotif in this hybrid and polyphonic repertoire: the body, whether ripped or cut, quartered or lacerated, in fragments or in pieces. The body is revealed to be the skin and flesh of painting, inhabiting the interiors of architecture and unveiled in its ruins; and, finally, represented as saunas through metonymy.

If the body is her work’s recurrent theme, its spirit is baroque, full of curves and folds, excess and ornamentation, exuberance and drama. Its mind, however, is mestizo—it is not by chance that in her self-portraits Varejão appears as a Chinese woman, a Moor, an Amerindian. Above all, there is a concern to expose and connect marginal histories, adding personal, literary and fictional references. The Portuguese história (unlike the English “history”) may refer to both fictional and non-fictional texts, thus shifting painting towards literature. Marginal histórias are those that are almost forgotten or set aside from traditional history: profound or private histories, histories that go against the grain, told at the margins, postcolonial and subaltern histories; histories beyond the center, histories from the South, and, in this sense, histories with a political dimension.

Histórias at the Margins brings together 40 works, all of them presented for the first time in Buenos Aires, displayed in a sequence of ten rooms. The show is organized chronologically, beginning in 1991. However, strict chronological order is sometimes broken to privilege thematic articulation between works in a single room. As this is Varejão’s first survey exhibition, the selection of works focuses on the best examples within each of the artist’s series—”Terra incógnita,” “Proposal for a Catechesis,” “Academics,” “Irezumis,” “Tongues and Incisions,” “Jerked-Beef Ruin,” “Seas and Tiles,” “Saunas,” and “Plates.”

The artist
Adriana Varejão was born in Rio de Janeiro, where she is based. Her works are in the permanent collections of Guggenheim Museum (New York), Tate Modern (London), Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain (Paris), Fundación “la Caixa” (Barcelona), Inhotim Centro de Arte Contemporânea (Brumadinho, Minas Gerais), among others. She has had solo shows at Fondation Cartier, Paris (2005); Centro Cultural de Belém, Lisbon (2005); Hara Museum, Tokyo (2007); and participated in biennials in São Paulo (1994, 1998), Johannesburg (1995), Prague (2003), Mercosur (2005), Liverpool (2006), Bucharest (2008), and Istanbul (2011). She was included in the MAM’s 2003 Panorama of Brazilian Art, curated by Gerardo Mosquera.

Organized with the Museu de Arte Moderna de Sao Paulo and the Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro.

With the collaboration of the galleries Victoria Miro, London | Fortes Vilaça, São Paulo | Lehmann Maupin, New York.

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April 8, 2013

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