Adriana Varejao (Brazilian, b.1964) is an artist who works in a variety of media, including painting, photography, sculpture, and installation projects. She lives in Rio de Janeiro and is considered to be one of Brazil's most notable contemporary artists. She uses the pain and pleasure found in her country's colonial past, in conjunction with art history and architecture, as inspiration to create beautiful and thought-provoking art.
This contemporary artist came into prominence in the late 1990s with her provocative work in large-scale paintings featuring Portuguese ceramic tiles; however, she then moved on to include other mediums within her work. Her tile work features coldly beautiful spa settings that seem to invoke the feel of cracks beneath the beautiful surface. She uses color and shadow to create visually beautiful pieces that hint at hidden mysteries, and this is especially prominent in several of her 2004 tile pieces. The dramatic titles of these works—A Diva (The Diva), O Sedutor (The Seducer), O Obsceno (The Obscene), and O Obsessivo (The Obsessive) —are in stark contrast to the seemingly Minimalist nature of her paintings. The result is that viewers want to know more about each work to discover how the titles relate to the pieces.
Varejao's work was prominently featured in the Brazil - Body & Soul exhibition at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. She has had solo exhibits in museums worldwide, including the Victoria Miro Gallery in London, the Lehmann Maupin Gallery in New York, Soledad Lorenzo in Madrid, and the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo. Several museums have included her work in their long-term and permanent collections, including the Tate Museum in London, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in San Diego. In 2008, Centro de Arte Contemporaneo Inhotim in Brazil created a permanent pavilion to display Varejao's artwork.