Adriana Varejão: Polvo
A new body of work by the artist, in her fourth solo presentation at the gallery. One of the most original voices in contemporary Brazilian art, Varejão's diverse practice comprises painting, sculpture, photography and installation. Her sources are many, encompassing baroque art, history, architectural ruins, natural sciences and theatre.
Varejão has long been fascinated by themes of miscegenation and skin colour, and she explores these subjects in a fresh way in this new body of work. Polvo addresses the ambivalent notion of interracial identity in Brazil, where historically race has assumed a social and cultural function.
The official Brazilian census categorises people into five different groups according to their skin colour: white, black, red, yellow and brown. In 1976, however, a household survey conducted by the IBGE (Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics) posed the open question 'What is your colour?' The result was 135 distinct terms whose meanings are far more figurative than literal.