Ruína de Charque – Vigário Geral (Vigário Geral Jerked-Beef Ruin)
Adriana Varejão ( Brazilian, 1964 )
Vigário Geral Jerked-Beef Ruin is a virtuosic simulation of a tile wall that upon closer inspection is bursting at the seams with flesh and guts. Part of her seminal Charque or Beef Jerky series of the early 2000s, this work is emblematic of the artist’s mature formal and conceptual concerns, and of her mining of Brazilian history to explore the intersections of popular culture, religion, power, and violence. The series reflects the Baroque influences on the art and architecture of her native country, specifically excess, the use of tiles or azulejos, and pictorial devices like trompe l’oeil. Many of these works resemble real places in Rio de Janeiro or Minas Gerais. The humble nature of beef jerky, a traditional food that is native to northeastern Brazil, stands in stark contrast to the opulence of Brazil’s Baroque buildings. Indeed, the series straddles many contradictory characteristics: the authentic and the simulation, geometric regularity and organic irregularity, architecture and the body, attraction and repulsion, tile and flesh. It speaks compellingly to the violent underpinnings of Brazil’s colonial period and the persistence of this troubling legacy today.
Anna Katherine Brodbeck, ed., TWO X TWO X TWENTY: Two Decades Supporting Contemporary Art at the Dallas Museum of Art (Dallas: Dallas Museum of Art), 2018, 275.
Learn more about Adriana Varejão's conceptual works.