Paloma Varga Weisz

Brustlochfrau, 2020

Paloma Varga Weisz (b. 1966, Mannheim, Germany) explores themes of memory, mortality, transformation, metamorphosis, 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. In many of her sculptures and drawings, Varga Weisz depicts imaginary characters resembling Surreal bodies from fairy tales and folklore.

Carved in limewood, the warm surface of which finds its resemblance with the (human) body, which occupies a central position in the artist’s practice, the act of carving, as in cutting away, is interpreted almost literally in Brustlochfrau, 2020. Rather than an act of violence, however, the sculpture can be perceived as a metaphorical act of liberating the unconscious, the suppressed, and the imaginary, which shapes the backbone of Varga Weisz’s practice. Immersed in anonymity and uncanny stillness, the sculpture is stripped from any ties to time and place. It is through the mimetic and resemblance, however, that we connect the depicted character to a reality, which is surprisingly, not that remotely distant from our own.

Major solo exhibitions include Skulpturenhalle, Thomas Schütte Foundation, Holzheim, Germany; Kabinettstück, Fürstenberg Zeitgenössisch, Donaueschingen, Germany; curated by Moritz Wesseler); Glory Hole, Salzburger Kunstverein, Salzburg, Austria; Root of a Dream, Castello di Rivoli, Turin, Italy; Krummer Hund, Kabinett für aktuelle Kunst, Bremerhaven, Germany, Museum Morsbroich, Leverkusen, Germany (with Rosemary Trockel) and Spirits of My Flesh, Chapter, Cardiff among other. Her works have been included in numerous group shows including Lucas Cranach the Elder, Museum Kunstpalast, Düsseldorf, Germany; The Human Factor, Hayward Gallery, London; Sculptures from the art academy Düsseldorf since 1945, Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf, Germany, Exquisite Corpses: Drawing and Disfiguration, Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Folkestone Triennial, UK, Lust for Life and Dance of Death, Kunsthalle Krems, and the Berlin Biennale. In 2017, a new book documenting Varga Weisz’s exhibition Root of a Dream was published by Castello di Rivoli, Turin.