Adriana Varejão

Adriana Varejão

Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo

Adriana Varejão, Linha Equinocial (Equinoctial Line)
1993. Oil on canvas, porcelain, polyamide threads.
140 x 160 cm (canvas). Photo: Jaime Acioli.

August 30, 2012

Adriana Varejão
Histórias at the Margins

3 September–16 December 2012

Opening: Monday 3 September, 8pm

Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo
Parque do Ibirapuera, portão 3.
04094-000 São Paulo
Hours: Tue–Sun 10–6pm

Histórias at the Margins is the first survey exhibition of the work of Adriana Varejão, a leading painter 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 travelers and the art of the19th 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, be it ripped, cut, quartered, lacerated, in fragments or in pieces. The body is revealed as 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. However, its mind is mestizo—it is not by chance that in her self-portraits Varejão appears as a Chinese woman, a Moor and an Amerindian. There is, above all, 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, they are profound or private histories, but also histories that go against the grain, that are told at the margins, post-colonial and subaltern histories, histories beyond the center, histories from the South, and, in this sense, they gain a political dimension.

Histórias at the Margins brings together 42 works, many of them seen here for the first time, including three new ones produced specially for the MAM São Paulo, all 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 chose 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.

–Adriano Pedrosa, curator

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.

The exhibition is curated by Adriano Pedrosa and travels to Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro, where it will be on view from January 16 to March 17, 2013.



The exhibition is supported by:

Adriana Varejão at Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo
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Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo
August 30, 2012

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