About the Artist
With a diverse practice comprising painting, sculpture, drawing, installation and photography, Adriana Varejão is one of the most original voices in contemporary Brazilian art. Her work address themes of colonialism, miscegenation and anthropology in Brazil, one of the most ethnically diverse countries in the world. Infused with layers of meaning, her work contains references to both her personal and Brazilian history. Her varied sources of inspiration range from art history to religious art, from erotic art to decorative art, from wall tiles to ceramics, from colonial iconography to images produced by European travellers, and from natural sciences to cartography. She researches these disparate histories and weaves various elements, from traditional to marginalia, together to evoke often forgotten stories and references.
In a few weeks, as TV cameras swoop over the Olympic Park in the Barra da Tijuca neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro, viewers will glimpse what looks like a colossal seascape mural encircling the new aquatics stadium.
But what appears to be ancient, cracked decorative tile is actually a scrim of 66 panels of perforated canvas, each 90 feet high - the largest contemporary artwork commissioned for Rio 2016. And the blue-and-white work is steeped in a complicated past that is typical of its creator, Adriana Varejão, 51, the revered Rio artist…
If you look closely, it’s not just a seascape, but parts of angels, and other historic Baroque motifs, all fragmented, reordered and turbulent.