Adriana Varejão: Carnivorous
The artist's fifth solo presentation with Victoria Miro and her first in the Mayfair gallery. One of the most original voices in contemporary Brazilian art, Varejão's diverse practice comprises painting, sculpture, photography and installation. Her sources encompass the baroque, history, ceramics, botany and art history.
This presentation conceived especially for Victoria Miro Mayfair features single- and multiple-panel paintings of carnivorous plants depicted in a deep red on a cracked surface that recalls old tiles. The cracked tile has been a recurring motif in Varejão's work since early in her career, and in these works she draws particularly on the history of Portuguese Azulejo tilework and of Chinese celadon ceramics dating back to the 11th century Song dynasty.
Varejão depicts carnivorous plants from various origins, drawing her inspiration from a scientific Botany encyclopedia. These unusual flora combine an exotic, often suggestive beauty with an air of implicit menace. The sense of threat is heightened by the work's blood-red colouration. Varejão has explained that one of the reference points for this series was Louise Bourgeois' late red gouaches, some of which also feature botanical motifs. Like Bourgeois, Varejão has long explored the territory where desire and danger meet.