Adriana Varejão (1964) is a Brazilian multimedia artist. Painting, photography, sculpture, installation: her body of work is wide and very diverse as much as her artistic and historic references, ranging from baroque art, architecture and ruins, theatre, natural science and colonial history.
In her “Sauna” series, a set of graphite drawings and paintings, she portrays the empty and usually calm atmospheres of these spaces. Formal perfection, a sober monochrome palette and grid structures echoing Modernist aesthetics are used to convey an idealised yet eerie image of tiled, labyrinthine interiors.
Yet the apparent absence of human bodies (the body—fragmented, maimed, tattooed—is often present in Adriana Varejão’s works) let us think that something terrible has happened within the narrative dimension of the pictures: the occasional blood spill or a lock of hair on the floor hint at a metaphorical body and at the gore without describing it completely.
As we do not know where the blood comes from, these works result in “a tension that is almost cinematic in its composition and tone. The tiles, while uniform and repetitive, are subtly painted to be individual areas, and the blood spill is delicately washed over the canvas. These demonstrations of technical refinement reveal an artist that has many levels and dimensions” (Excerpt from: Federico Rosa: “Adriana Varejão: A History of Flesh“)
HERKENHOFF, Paulo. Saunas, 2005. In: Adriana Varejão. Chambre d’échos/Câmara de Ecos. Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain/Actes Sud, 2005.
Federico Rosa: “Adriana Varejão: A History of Flesh”
Adriana Varejão: Echo Chamber, at Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporaine