Paloma Varga Weisz

21.04.2017 – 12.08.2017
Curated by Dieter Schwarz


While still a student, Paloma Varga Weisz turned her attention to figural sculpture in wood. Though she adopts familiar motifs and explores the history and imagery of figural sculpture, she alters and subtly questions these – from the delicate kangaroo by the entrance to the white plaster male figure with the grotesque bird-like head.

The left half of the room is taken up by a large barrel painted and a tree trunk, on which a small figure, Bumpman, sits with its back to the viewer, facing the Bumped Body on the wall. The woman whose face peers from the abstract silvery form seems to be trapped inside it. The seated figure covered in tinted and varnished boils with the indifferent facial expression evokes the world of plague victims, just as the body in the barrel evokes Goya’s depictions of war.

In Varga Weisz’ fantastical figurations, the transition from the animate to the inanimate world is fluid. Bodies are often disguised, as in the wicker figures, the angelically expressive suspended figure or the white-clad youth of the Still-Life with the chemical laboratory glasses arrayed above him. The black recumbent figure is dissected as though in an autopsy.

In the central room another Bumpman sits on a stool, surrounded by drawings and watercolours in which motifs from the sculptures, both human and animal, are reiterated. Here, Varga Weisz lets her imagination run free, manipulating the human and the animal, ascribing human roles to animals and wrenching human figures from their conventional existence. In their playfulness, as well as in their sudden leaps of expression and atmosphere, these works on paper recall the ceramic figures at the start of the exhibition.


Dieter Schwarz