Adriana Varejão - Transbarroco

"Adriana Varejão: Transbarroco," installation view at The John Sowden House, Los Angeles. Artwork © Adriana Varejão. Photo by ShootArt LA.

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Gagosian is pleased to announce a special event at the legendary John Sowden House by Adriana Varejão, one of Brazil's most renowned living artists. For three consecutive evenings, Varejão's four-channel video installation Transbarroco (2014) will play across the facade and in the central courtyard of this extraordinary heritage building.  This U.S. première coincides with her first-ever West Coast exhibition, “Interiors,” at Gagosian Beverly Hills.

In sweeping cinematic takes of the sumptuous interiors of Brazilian Baroque churches, and an accompanying sound collage, Transbarroco points to key cultural influences in Varejão's oeuvre. Described by Varejão as “jewels of the mestizo Brazilian Baroque,” the four churches that appear in the film are among the most significant examples of local religious architecture of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries: the Church of San Francisco in Salvador, Bahia; the Third Order of Saint Francis in Rio de Janeiro; the Church of Saint Francis of Assisi in Ouro Preto; and the Cathedral of Mariana in Mariana, Minas Gerais. Transbarroco unfolds across four screens in scenes entitled Gold, The Blue, Sky and Earth, and China. Panning horizontally and vertically, the camera captures the diverse figures, surfaces, and sometimes incongruous elements that appear in the church interiors.

The soundscape that underscores the video installation is a collage of text, voices, sounds, and contrasting rhythms. Within the mix that combines the drumming of the Bahia-based collective Olodum, the music of the Mariana Cathedral organ, and ambient sounds captured during the filming—the voices of church guides, children playing, church bells, and fragments of samba music—the Angolan writer José Eduardo Agualusa reads an excerpt from Gilberto Freyre's Casa—Grande & Senzala (The Masters and the Slaves), which addresses the influence of the vernacular language of endearment used by black nannies towards the children in their care on the evolution of the Portuguese language in Brazil.

Space for this event is extremely limited, therefore reservation is free but essential and will be accorded in the order received.  For further information please contact the gallery at [email protected] or at +1.310.271.9400.

Adriana Varejão was born in 1964 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where she lives and works. Major institutional exhibitions include “Azulejões,” Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil, Rio de Janeiro and Brasília, Brazil (2001); “Chambre d’échos / Câmara de ecos,” Fondation Cartier pour l´art Contemporain, Paris (2005, traveled to Centro Cultural de Belém, Lisbon; and DA2, Salamanca, Spain); Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo (2007); “Adriana Varejão - Histórias às Margens,” Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo, Brazil (2012, traveled to Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; and Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (MALBA), Argentina in 2013); “Adriana Varejão,” The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (2014); and “Adriana Varejão: Kindred Spirits,” Dallas Contemporary (2015). She participated in the Bienal de São Paulo (1994, 1998); the 12th Biennale of Sydney (2000); the International Biennial Exhibition, SITE Santa Fe (2004); Liverpool Biennial (1999, 2006); Bucharest Biennale (2008); Istanbul Biennial (2011); “30x Bienal,” Fundação Bienal de São Paulo (2013); Bienal do Mercosul, Brazil (1997, 2005, 2015); and the first Bienal de Arte Contemporânea de Coimbra, Portugal (2015). In 2008, a permanent pavilion dedicated to Varejão’s art was inaugurated at Inhotim Centro de Arte Contemporânea, Brumadinho, Minas Gerais, Brazil. In 2016, she was commissioned to produce a temporary mural based on her epic work Celacanto provoca maremoto to cover the entire facade of the Centro Aquático for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

The John Sowden House was built in 1926 by Frank Lloyd Wright Jr., in Los Feliz on the border of Hollywood. The house is noted for its use of hand-cast, textile blocks and for its striking facade and internal layout, resembling a Mayan temple. The original owner was a painter and photographer who hired his friend, the eldest son of Frank Lloyd Wright to build a “home” that would serve as a performance and exhibition space for the emerging Hollywood artistic community. The house is constructed using concrete textile blocks and looks inward—both vital precursors to the development of modern (California) architecture.

Frank Lloyd Wright Sr. designed several textile block homes in the Los Angeles area in the 1920s on which Lloyd Jr. served as construction manager, including Ennis House, Storer House, Samuel Freeman House, and Hollyhock House. These houses by father and son are now some of the most famous residential landmarks in the world, and are included in the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

“Adriana Varejão: Interiors” is part of the Participating Gallery Program of Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, an ambitious and far-reaching series of thematically linked exhibitions and programs of Latin American and Latino art in dialog with Los Angeles. An initiative of The Getty and generously supported by The Getty Foundation, Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA takes place through January 2018 at more than 70 cultural institutions across Southern California. For more information, visit

For further information please contact the gallery at [email protected] or at +1.310.271.9400. All images are subject to copyright. Gallery approval must be granted prior to reproduction.

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Gagosian | T. +1.310.271.9400
Contact: Courtney Raterman, [email protected]


Gagosian was established in 1980 by Larry Gagosian.