Adriana Varejão. Polvo
Adriana Varejão’s Polvo makes use of a playful format to urge questioning about the vocabulary associated with skin-tone in the artist’s native Brazil. This work stems from the results of a 1976 census in which the Brazilian population self-identified their skin colour using 136 different terms. While some of the terminology is literal (white, black, yellow, red [or indigenous] and pardo), other words are more metaphoric, pointing at an endemic racism expressed through words that persists to this day.

In this artist’s book, Varejão has created two decks of cards. The first one consists of a list of expressions associated with skin-tones by the Brazilian people, while the second one is a set of pigments selected by the artist. This artist’s book invites the reader to play an absurd game that is impossible to win, as  there is no right match between pigment and term. Each correspondence is purely subjective, highlighting how discourse is never neutral and how arbitrary notions of race can be.

Adriana Varejão, Polvo. Madrid: Ivorypress, 2021.

105 x 150 mm
Two decks of 136 cards each

Design Joana Bravo assisted by María Albillos

Printing Offset on Symbol Tatami White 200g and Fedrigoni Materica Clay 250g by Nueva Imprenta

Special finishes Foiling and die-cut

Binding Sliding slipcase in Fedrigoni Materica Clay 360g, cardboard case lined with Fedrigoni Materica Clay 120g

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