Don’t even entertain the thought of pastel colored Ladurée macarons as you take in the soft spoken colors of Adriana Varejão’s works.
The azulejos tiles you may also see are no pretty Marie-Antoinette’s toile de Jouy.
Instead, daring to be too graphic as we approach Halloween, I’d say it is Marie-Antoinette’s beheading which is occasionally channelled in Adriana Varejão’s works.
In her words, Brazilian artist Adriana Varejão is interested in the “ history outside against a wild body inside”. Hence the genius title of her new show at Gagosian Gallery in Beverly Hills: Interiors. What does the word conjure up for you?
If you are you thinking interiors as space, light and design, the Sauna paintings will resonate.
Over an apparent simplicity of architectural lines, these spaces are illuminated by light and the most wonderful of color camaieus.
Using tile motifs to display infinite hues in blush pink, zinc yellow, dove grey or mint green, these paintings become visual macarons. Incredibly pretty to look at.
Yet as my mind grazed on colors, I realised how hermetic, almost claustrophobic, these interiors quickly became.
I kept wondering through these attractive mazes with no visible exit until a contrasting reddishness against the glorious yellows of O Illuminato turned into a bloody streak.
These saunas are cleansing spaces with no let out for the secrets and life needing to be washed out.
It therefore makes sense for Adriana Varejão to explore tiles as a medium of artistic expression. As applied ornaments, tiles tread a thin line between covering and containing. Physically and literally.
Are tiles purely aesthetic, delineating inside space?
Are they covering walls and the body of life they witness?
Or are tiles containing – almost entombing- the stories walls could tell?
Is their washable surface enough of a release into the world of flesh and blood, another form of Interiors?
Mixing flesh cuts à la Fontana with architectural sectioning, Adriana Varejão reveals different types of Interiors, all unsettling for the lack of direct representation of the human body.
Only blood on the bathroom floor, fleshy meat and viscera allude to the human body itself. Yet Adriana Varejão speaks of its vulnerability in many ways and makes us feel this forcefully.
Drawn to admire her azulejos tiles, we recoil at what they cover and contain.
Looking at these walls bursting with the “wild body inside”, I was reminded of the affliction of our society: the sugar grime of consumption, the reality filth of our world gone mad and the information overload on our neatly tiled social network feeds.
The definite feeling of a crack in the dam waiting to happen…
But these visible cracks in Adriana Varejão’s works also brought back to mind the work of Argentinian artist Analia Saban.
Yes, Analia Saban’s work is bloated with paint.
It oozes surplus paint where she “paints within canvas”, putting paint not on but through the warp or weft of each canvas.
Much like Adriana Varejão, Analia Saban also speaks of fractures, faults and impending natural and social seismic disasters.
Folding concrete slabs like she would paper, she pushes the boundaries of this basic and unforgiving material, draping concrete like silk in Marie-Antoinette’s salon, revealing incredible delicacy and beauty within this upheld tension.
The concrete folds are breaks that never quite break.
Even though they look so wet and alive, her canvas don’t leak.
For all I know, this gives me hope we are no Marie-Antoinette. We’ll keep our heads on our shoulders despite what lies beneath, around and under…
As ever, don’t forget to share your reactions on these works: attractive, repulsive, what was your first reaction? The comment box is all yours.
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Interiors by Adriana Varejão is at Gagosian Beverly Hills until October 25, 2017.
© 2017 Ingrid Westlake
All pictures by Ingrid Westlake, unless otherwise stated.
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Tes 2 premières lignes d’accroche m’ont forcement attirée et au bout du compte ton étrange exposition est intéressante ! Tu as l’art et la manière de nous faire découvrir des artistes tous aussi différents les uns que les autres, chapeau Ingrid ! Merci.
Merci Nathalie! Ces deux artistes valent le coup d’être vues et observées de près, même si certaines pièces sont un peu déstabilisantes. J’aime bien varier ce que je regarde pour sans cesse remettre mon oeil en question 😉 Merci de me lire xx
It’s annoying !!! Flesh, meat, coming out of a wall azulejos. Saunas deserted from human presence, yet traces of blood on the ground ???
A washable surface makes it possible to rewrite history : these dead bodies enclosed in the tiles of azulejos, as the human is enclosed in a society where madness and overconsumption kills.
Yet many luminosities, colors and at the same time a closed universe !! Hope and Enclosure !!
Analia Saban’s folded concrete pieces remind me of the Berlin wall I saw in the spring !!! or to a street cut off after an earthquake !
nothing very cheerful anyway !!! and at the same time a testimony of the story !!
It’s worrying !!
Let us remain optimistic that the human being possesses the necessary resources or avoid suffering with what lies beneath, around and under…
Agreed, it’s hard to stay indifferent to the works of both these artists. Thought-provoking is always good, and that’s why I wanted to feature them here on the blog.
I too hope humanity has what it takes to resist the faults and folds, and not break just like Analia Saban demonstrates in her way, quite poetically despite the materials she uses. I appreciate your readership 😉
I believed that I had seen badly but not.
Intestines and blood in the wall…So Chocking and not poetic at all.
Don’t like this kind of Art.
Sorry I try to keep it quite different 😉 Art is multi-faceted and my eyes take me across art movements, timelines and styles. What I will publish next will be much lighter, I promise 😉
It is almost lunch time and suddenly I am no longer hungry…
Great article for our Halloween season but very disturbing too. It is that form of art you appreciate in a museum but you wouldn’t like in your home. Disgusting. I liked when you referred tiles to covering and containing. Not a fan of the other artist too but I appreciate you make us discover them. Thank you.
Oh I am so sorry to have ruined your appetite 😂 and I thank you for reading and commenting. It’s interesting because Adriana Varejão actually manages to not gross you out when you see her works in the flesh, so to speak 😂 The meaty aspect is very clearly exaggerated and looks fake so it is easier to bypass the repulsion to think about what she’s trying to say.
My eyes are constantly attracted to very different styles of art. I am so happy to share some with you, making you look at something you would not have necessarily before. Not being indifferent is what I like 😉 Thank you for reading!