Adriana Varejão

30 January - 28 March 2002
Victoria Miro Gallery I
16 Wharf Road, London N1 7RW

Adriana Varejão fills the Lower Gallery with a monumental wall based installation, Macau Wall, while the Upper Gallery houses new individual floor and wall based work. The fine colour gradations that enliven the apparent chromatic uniformity of Varejão's recent painting evoke the traditions of Minimalism or monochrome painting. However, her work is not a strict exercise in abstract painting, but rather a representation of a surface clad in tiles.

Throughout her work Varejão has pursued a common pattern of research, examining the complex history of Brazil. The rich Baroque imagery of her earlier work replicated techniques for making such things as porcelain, tiles and tattoos, all of which were imported to Brazil from other cultures. Varejão is also fascinated by old methods of medical treatment and often in her work the canvas ruptures or is cut to expose a bodily interior of fleshy sculptural elements.

"My fiction does not belong to any time or place, instead it is characterized by themes dealing with rupture and discontinuity. These are stories about the body, about medicine, about painting, about Brazil, about tattoos, about Ming, Song or Iznik ceramics, about old tiles, either Portuguese or Delft, and also about modern and ordinary tiles, about maps, books, lacquers. Everything is contaminated. In my work, the formation of Brazilian culture from the colonial period onwards is used as a metaphor for the modern world. The works included in the "jerked-beef" series are like contemporary ruins, canvases of wall and rubble that end up losing their stony, insensitive, hard and inhuman nature and become flesh."

Macau Wall, 2002 (Installation View)
Plaster on canvas, oil paint