The work of Paloma Varga Weisz (b. 1966, Mannheim, Germany) explores themes of memory, mortality, transformation, metamorphosis, the uncanny, and the tragicomic. Art historical and literary resonances pervade her work. Varga Weisz subsumes influences of German folklore, Christian iconography, and Modernist sculpture into a distinctive personal style, characterized both by playful Surrealism and emotional candor.
Although trained in woodcarving and known for her sculptural work, drawing occupies an equally important role in the artist’s practice. Using pencil, paper, and paint mixed with water, Varga Weis’s watercolors depict, like her sculptures, imaginary characters resembling surreal bodies from fairy tales. Characteristic for its uncanny quality and ties with the unconscious, Untitled, 1995, depicts what seems to be a kangaroo in an amphitheatre. Stripped of any ties to time and place, the watercolor is charged with symbolism and metaphor, tying this work with the Freudian dream theory. With the head of the animal hidden behind a wall, Varga Weisz resonates references to the unconscious, the forgotten, the suppressed, and the imaginary, that which has been concealed, or on the contrary, surfaced by the mind.