Paloma Varga Weisz (1966) lives and works in Düsseldorf, Germany. Her wood-carved sculptures, paintings, drawings and watercolors explore themes of memory, mortality, transformation, metamorphosis, the uncanny and the tragicomic. Art-historical and literary resonances pervade her work – German folklore, Christian iconography, and Modernist sculpture. Varga Weisz subsumes these influences into a distinctive personal style, characterized both by playful surrealism and emotional candour. In many of her sculptures and drawings, she depicts imaginary characters – hybrid anthropomorphic creatures which recall the surreal bodies of fairy tales and folklore. Elsewhere, she assembles found and crafted objects in kunstkammer-style arrangements which suggest repositories of memory or allegories of the subconscious. Woodcarving has formed a central aspect of Paloma Varga Weisz’s work since the beginning of her career. She trained as a woodcarver in Bavaria from 1987-2000, and has continued to utilize and develop this technique, tapping into its rich iconographic history.
Major solo exhibitions include Skulpturenhalle, Thomas Schütte Foundation, Holzheim, Germany (2017); Kabinettstück, Fürstenberg Zeitgenössisch, Donaueschingen, Germany (2016; curated by Moritz Wesseler); Glory Hole, Salzburger Kunstverein, Salzburg, Austria (2015); Root of a Dream, Castello di Rivoli, Turin, Italy (2015); Krummer Hund, Kabinett für aktuelle Kunst, Bremerhaven, Germany, Museum Morsbroich, Leverkusen, Germany (with Rosemary Trockel) and Spirits of My Flesh, Chapter, Cardiff (2011) among other. Her works have been included in numerous group shows including Lucas Cranach the Elder, Museum Kunstpalast, Düsseldorf, Germany (2017); The Human Factor, Hayward Gallery, London (2014); Sculptures from the art academy Düsseldorf since 1945, Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf, Germany (2013), Exquisite Corpses: Drawing and Disfiguration, Museum of Modern Art, New York (2012), the Folkestone Triennial, UK (2011), Lust for Life and Dance of Death, Kunsthalle Krems, (2010) and the Berlin Biennale (2006). In 2017, a new book documenting Varga Weisz’s exhibition Root of a Dream was published by Castello di Rivoli, Turin.