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Gagosian Quarterly

March 21, 2018

adriana varejãoTransbarroco

From October 19–21, 2017, Adriana Varejão’s video installation Transbarroco (2014) played across the façade and in the central courtyard of the historic John Sowden House, designed by Lloyd Wright in 1926. This US premiere coincided with her first-ever West Coast exhibition, Interiors, at Gagosian Beverly Hills.

The four churches that appear in Transbarroco are among the most significant examples of Brazilian 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. The film work unfolds across four screens in scenes entitled Gold, The Blue, Sky and Earth, and China.

The soundscape for the installation is a collage of text, voices, ambience, and contrasting rhythms. Within the mix that combines the drumming of the Bahia-based collective Olodum, the music of the Mariana Church organ, and sounds captured during the filming—voices of church guides, children playing, bells, and 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.

Artwork © Adriana Varejão. Co-direction by Adriano Pedrosa; Production by Lula Buarque de Hollanda; Soundtrack by Berna Ceppas; Installation footage by Clarice De Veyra; Special thanks to Louise Neri, Kelso Wyeth, Miriam Perez, PerryDuke, Deborah McLeod, Ronnie Gunter, Courtney Raterman, and Amanda Stoffel.

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