Adriana Varejão: Polvo

Victoria Miro Gallery, London

The fourth solo presentation by Adriana Varejão at Victoria Miro Gallery opens on the 16th of October. Varejão’s diverse practice comprises painting, sculpture, photography and installation. Her sources are many, encompassing baroque art, history, architectural ruins, natural sciences and theatre.The Brazilian artist 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.For Polvo, Varejão has created her own oil paints, named after thirty-three definitions of skin colour taken from the 1976 survey. The artist selected some of the more exotic and poetic terms, including Fogoió (Fox on Fire Red), Enxofrada (Angry Sulphur), Café com Leite (Milky Coffee), Branquinha (Snow White), Burro-quando-foge (Faded Fawn), Cor Firme (Steady Colour), Morenão (Big Black Dude), Encerada (Buffed) and Queimada de Sol (Sun Kissed).Varejão also presents an installation of eleven self-portraits painted in an academic style using these paints. The skin tones in the paintings range in various shades from dark to light.The artist has created a brand Polvo (Octopus) and a logo for the paints featuring an octopus, a creature famous for using its ink in defense. Octopus ink contains melanin, the same substance that gives colour to human hair and skin.With Polvo Varejão emphasises how colour acts as a language and lexicon. These works allow us to rethink our own systems of chromatic classification and the social processes that are expressed through them.
Adriana Varejão

Open:Wednesday, 16 October 2013
Close:Saturday, 09 November 2013
Address:Victoria Miro Gallery, 16 Wharf Road, London N1 7RW
Phone:+ 44 20 7336 8109
Web:Victoria Miro Gallery
Opening hour:Tue-Sat | 10am – 6pm
Closing day:Mon-Tue
Photo credits:Courtesy the Artist and Victoria Miro, London © Adriana Varejão. Photography: Vicente de Mello

Leave a Comment

Questo sito usa Akismet per ridurre lo spam. Scopri come i tuoi dati vengono elaborati.