My work is always in the territory of hybridity. My content forms in terms of decolonizing subjectivities because it deals with countless cultural references—not only from official history, but also from many other hidden or obscured histories that lie at the margins.
Gagosian is pleased to present new paintings and sculptures by Adriana Varejão. This is her first exhibition with the gallery in New York, following presentations in Rome in 2016, and Los Angeles in 2017.
Varejão’s rich and diverse artistic oeuvre embodies the mythic pluralism of Brazilian identity and the fraught social, cultural, and aesthetic interactions that engendered it. Living and working in Rio de Janeiro, she draws upon the potent visual legacy of colonial histories and transnational exchange, creating confluent forms that expose the multivalent nature of memory and representation.
In the late 1980s, Varejão began researching azulejos, the glazed terra-cotta tiles of Arab origin that have been the most widely used form of decoration in Portuguese art since the Middle Ages and that were brought to Brazil through colonization and trade. From this, she developed her unique and ever-evolving series of “tile” paintings, made by covering a square canvas with a thick layer of plaster and allowing it to gradually dry to produce a surface with deep fissures resembling ancient crackled porcelain—or geological time itself.
Adriana Varejão: For a Poetics of Difference
Curator Luisa Duarte considers the artist’s oeuvre, writing on Varejão’s active engagement with theories of difference, as well as the cultural specters of the past.
Latin American Artists: From 1785 to Now
To celebrate the publication of Phaidon’s new, expansive survey, we share an excerpt from Raphael Fonseca’s introduction and a few of the more than three hundred artists featured.
Adriana Varejão Selects
To coincide with the release of the first English-language monograph on the career of Adriana Varejão—in which her diverse body of work is explored in depth, from her earliest paintings in the 1990s to her most recent multimedia installations—the artist has curated a selection of films as part of a series copresented by Gagosian and Metrograph in the theater and online. The program features cinema exploring themes of eroticism, excess, and science-fiction fatalism.
Gagosian Quarterly Summer 2021
The Summer 2021 issue of Gagosian Quarterly is now available, featuring Carrie Mae Weems’s The Louvre (2006) on its cover.
Work in Progress
Adriana Varejão: In the Studio
Join Adriana Varejão at her studio in Rio de Janeiro as she prepares for her upcoming exhibition at Gagosian in New York. She speaks about the inspirations for her “tile” paintings, from Portuguese azulejos to the Brazilian Baroque to the Talavera ceramic tradition of Mexico, and reveals for the first time her unique process for creating these works.
For Sale: Baby Shoes. Never Worn.
Sydney Stutterheim meditates on the power and possibilities of small-format artworks throughout time.
Thursday, June 17, 2021, 1pm edt
Join Gagosian for a dialogue between Adriana Varejão and Brazilian critic and curator Luisa Duarte on the occasion of Varejão’s exhibition Talavera, on view at Gagosian, New York, through June 26. The pair will discuss Varejão’s unique approach to painting in the context of Latin American history, culture, and politics. Duarte’s new essay on Varejão’s oeuvre, “For a Poetics of Difference,” appears in the Summer issue of the Gagosian Quarterly, and she curated the 2019 survey exhibition Adriana Varejão: Por uma retórica canibal, presented in both Salvador and Recife, Brazil. Organized in partnership with Fortes D’Aloia & Gabriel, the conversation will be conducted in Portuguese and streamed online with English subtitles. This is the first of two events presented in conjunction with the exhibition, hosted over the course of two consecutive days.
Left: Adriana Varejão. Photo: Vicente de Mello. Right: Luisa Duarte
Friday, June 18, 2021, 1pm edt
Join Gagosian for a walkthrough of the exhibition Adriana Varejão: Talavera at Gagosian, New York, led by the artist together with Mexican curator Pedro Alonzo. In 2017, Varejão and Alonzo made a research trip to Mexico to study Talavera poblana, the richly diverse ceramic tradition that inspired the current exhibition. While guiding viewers through the exhibition, the pair will recount their experiences and the many references—from Indigenous and pre-Hispanic to colonial and modernist—for this body of work, revealing some of the potent narratives inherent in material culture, global trade, art history, and the corresponding power dynamics in Mexico and Brazil. This is the second of two events presented in conjunction with the exhibition, hosted over the course of two consecutive days.
Left: Adriana Varejão. Photo: Vicente de Mello. Right: Pedro Alonzo. Photo: René Castelán Foglia