contemporary art

Paloma Varga Weisz

Germany 1966

Installation, Sculpture, Drawing

Paloma Varga Weisz
Paloma Varga Weisz
January 18, 2015

Paloma Varga Weisz is a German contemporary artist, recognized by her diverse oeuvre which includes sculptures and installations mainly in wood and ceramics, as well as watercolors and drawings.

Varga Weisz was born in 1966 in Neustadt an der Weinstrasse, Germany. She was trained as a woodcarver from 1987 till 1990 in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. From 1990 to 1998 she studied at the Staatliche Kunstakademie Düsseldorf under Tony Cragg and Gerhard Merz.

Deeply rooted in the arts and crafts of the Middle Ages, Varga Weisz’s works embrace many of the inner aspects of its style and subject matter, creating evocative works that recall folklore, contemporary media and art history. The hybrid forms that she shapes by this fusion of influences are reminiscent of our cultural, mythical, or religious history and simultaneously enclose adult knowingness and youthful innocence, as well as personal reference and collective memory. Her sculptures are characterized by obvious references to traditional iconography and handcraft, joining the historical with a contemporary artistic practice that only rarely reveals its genealogical roots.

Her expressive and often disquieting works have the ability both to charm and unsettle. Each work captures a moment of metamorphosis or transformation — between sleep and death, male and female, real and unreal. The delicate balance between restraint and exaggeration is also felt in her watercolor paintings which reveal an immediacy and freedom that is equally captivating.

The unequivocal titles employed by Paloma Varga Weisz for her sculptural works, such as Dogman, Bumpman, Boxman, belie the complex nature of the pieces she presents to the viewer, hiding the strong sense of narrative apparent in the work, as well as the subtle feelings which are evoked by her silent figures. Bruised and scratched by fingertips and nails, her figures are un-smoothed, not fully formed and intentionally not quite made. The objects that her silent figures hold appear to be components of a memory or personal story, strung together in order to construct a narrative. The figures are partly realistic, partly out of focus, and like a strong memory, they are temporally disconnected from the space in the present but continue to have a physical impact on it.

In developing her sculptures Varga Weisz is influenced by her physical working method and the many visual and literary sources that she encounters during this time. The figures emerge gradually as she moves from the exterior to the interior both in a physical sense through carving the wood, and in a conceptual sense as her ideas crystallize from one step to the next. She is keen to establish and maintain a distance between the viewer and any literal meaning, preferring them to bring their own associative ideas to bear on her work, causing her sculptures to remain stubbornly enigmatic yet strangely familiar.

Varga Weisz had numerous group and solo exhibitions worldwide, a large part of them in Germany, England and New York. In 2012, six of her drawings were acquired by and exhibited in the Museum of Modern Art.

Paloma Varga Weisz lives and works in Düsseldorf, Germany.

YearExhibition titleGallery/MuseumGroup/Solo
2015Paloma Varga Weisz: Bois DormantGladstone Gallery, BrusselsSolo
2014Paloma Varga WeiszSadie Coles HQ, LondonSolo
2014The Human Factor: Uses of the Figure in Contemporary SculptureHayward Gallery, LondonGroup
2014Queensize – Female Artists from the Olbricht CollectionStiftung Olbricht, BerlinGroup
2014Basic Research – Notes on the CollectionMuseum Kurhaus Kleve, Kleve, GermanyGroup
20141984?Mai 36 Galerie, ZurichGroup
2013Paloma Verga WeiszDouglas Hyde Gallery, DublinSolo
2013Kummer HundKabinett für aktuelle Kunst, Bremerhaven, GermanySolo
2013Paloma Varga WeiszCapri, Dusseldorf, GermanySolo
2013Adventures of Truth – Painting and Philosophy: a narrativeFoundation Maeght, Saint-Paul-de-Vence, FranceGroup
2013Sculptures from the Art Academy Dusseldorf since 1945Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen K20, DüsseldorfGroup
2012Paloma Varga WeiszSadie Coles HQ, LondonSolo
2012Alone TogetherRubell Family Collection, MiamiGroup
2012Exquisite Corpses: Drawings and DisfigurationMuseum of Modern Art, New YorkGroup
2012SammlungspräsentationMuseum Kurhaus Kleve, Kleve, GermanyGroup
2012Body DoubleFrederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, Grand Rapids, MichiganGroup
2012Portraits between Documentation and FictionKunstsammlung, Düsseldorf, GermanyGroup
2012Prima MateriaGladstone Gallery, BrusselsGroup
2012Maison de Plaisance: Rosemarie Trockel, Paloma Varga WeiszMuseum Morsbroich, Leverkusen, GermanyGroup
2011Spirits of My FleshChapter Arts Center, Cardiff, Wales, EnglandSolo
2011A Collection in Process – New presentations and Works on LoanSculpturenmuseum Glasken Marl, GermanyGroup
2011Memories of the FutureThe Olbricht Collection, La Maison Rouge, ParisGroup
2011Paul ClaySalon 94, New YorkGroup
2011A million miles from homeFolkestone Triennial, Folkestone, EnglandGroup
2010Roll-on, Roll-offKunsthalle Bremerhaven, Bremerhaven, GermanyGroup
2010Neues Rheinland. Die postironische GenerationMusueum Morsbroich, Leverkusen, GermanyGroup
2010Multiple Pleasures: Functional Objects in Contemporary ArtTanya Bonakdar Gallery, New YorkGroup
2010Intensif StationKunstsammlung NRW, Düsseldorf, GermanyGroup
2010Contemporary Eye: CrossoversPallant House Gallery, Chichester, EnglandGroup
2010Lebenslust und TotentanzKunsthalle Krems, Krems, AustriaGroup
2010Larger than life stranger than fictionTriennale Kleinplastik, Fellbach, GermanyGroup
2010Aber Schwarz ist doch gar keine Farbe!Konrad Fischer Galerie, Düsseldorf, GermanyGroup
2010Silent RevolutionKunstsammlung NRW, Düsseldorf, GermanyGroup
2009Paloma Varga WeiszSommer Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv, IsraelSolo
2009CargoAutocenter, BerlinGroup
2009CargoBayrische Staatsoper München, München, GermanyGroup
2008Paloma Varga WeiszKonrad Fischer Galerie, BerlinSolo
2008Paloma Varga WeiszGladstone Gallery, New YorkSolo
2008Bumped BodyKunsthalle Wien Project Space, Karlsplatz, AustriaSolo
2008The Krautcho Club - In and Out of Place176 Gallery, LondonGroup
2008Go for it!Olbricht Collection, Neues Museum Weserburg, Bremen, GermanyGroup
2008Vom Gehen in viele RichtungenKIT Kunst im Tunnel, Düsseldorf, GermanyGroup
2007Paloma Varga WeiszSadie Coles HQ, LondonSolo
2007Der Symbolismus und die Kunst der GegenwartVon der Heydt Museum, Wuppertal, GermanyGroup
2007EffigiesStuart Shave Modern Art, LondonGroup
2007Makers and ModelersGladstone Gallery, New YorkGroup
2007Die Kunst zu SammelnMuseum Kunst Palast, Düsseldorf, GermanyGroup
2007re-dis-playKunstverein Heidelberg, Heidelberg, GermanyGroup
2007RevueZehn Jahre Museum Kurhaus Kleve, Kleve, GermanyGroup
2006Paloma Varga WeiszDouglas Hyde Gallery, DublinSolo
2006Of Mice and Men4th Berlin Biennale, KW Institute for Contemporary Art, BerlinGroup
2006Kunst-KörperlichKunsthalle Dominikanerkirche, Osnabrück, GermanyGroup
2006Recent Acquisitions in Contemporary ArtThe Israel Museum, JerusalemGroup
2006The Wonderful FundPallant House Gallery, Chichester, EnglandGroup
2006Zoo StoryFisher Landau Center for the Arts, New YorkGroup
2005ChorGladstone Gallery, New YorkSolo
2005Paloma Varga WeiszSadie Coles HQ, LondonSolo
2005Always a Little FurtherVenice Biennale, Venice, ItalyGroup
2005The AddictionGagosian Gallery, BerlinGroup
2005BlickachsenMuseum Kurhaus Kleve, Kleve, GermanyGroup
2005Sammlung 2005Neupräsentation Kunstsammlung im K21, Düsseldorf, GermanyGroup
2005The Wonderful Fund CollectionMusée de Marrakech, Marrakech, MoroccoGroup
2004Paloma Varga WeiszMuseum Kurhaus Kleve, GermanySolo
2004ActionbuttonThe State Russian Museum, St. PetersburgGroup
2004RaumfürraumKunstverein und Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, GermanyGroup
2004Triennale der KleinplastikFellbach, Fellbach, GermanyGroup
2004ReflectionsArtuatuca Festival, Tongeren, BelgiumGroup
2004WoodworkAnthony Grant, New YorkGroup
2004Kunst- und Foerderpreis Rheinland-Pfalz 2004 für BildhauereiSchloss Waldthausen European Triennial of Small Scale Sculpture, Murska Sobota, SloveniaGroup
2003Stubai-FrauGalerie Konrad Fischer, Düsseldorf, GermanySolo
2003Falling AngelsGreene Naftali Gallery, New YorkGroup
2003Poeme-ImageSchloß Wendlinghausen, Dörentrup, GermanyGroup
2003ActionbuttonAnkäufe der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Hamburger Bahnhof, BerlinGroup
2003Not AfraidRubell Family Collection, MiamiGroup
2002Big TripKonrad Fischer Galerie, Düsseldorf, GermanySolo
2002Paloma Varga WeiszCastello di Rivara, Turin, ItalySolo
2002Paloma Varga WeiszKunstraum Galerie der Stadt Schwaz, Tirol, AustriaSolo
2002The Galleries ShowRoyal Academy of Arts, LondonGroup
2002Paloma Varga Weisz, Cecilia Edefalk und Michael BachKunsthalle Bremerhaven, Bremerhaven, GermanyGroup
2002On paperAndreas Grimm, Munich, GermanyGroup
200210 Jahre Bremerhaven-StipendiumKunsthalle Bremerhaven, Bremerhaven, GermanyGroup
2002Go for it! Olbricht Collection in der WeserburgMuseum für moderne Kunst, Frankfurt, GermanyGroup
2001WaldfrauKabinett für aktuelle Kunst, Bremerhaven, GermanySolo
2001WindsbrautKunstverein Bremerhaven, Bremerhaven-Stipendium, GermanySolo
2001Group showStädtische Galerie am Bunten Tor, Bremen, GermanyGroup
2000Paloma CabaretAdeline Morlon Art Direction, Düsseldorf, GermanySolo
2000DemutGalerie Vera Munro, Hamburg, GermanySolo
2000AromaGalerie Konrad Fischer, Düsseldorf, GermanyGroup
2000AromaGalerie Andreas Grimm, Palma de Mallorca, SpainGroup
1999Paloma Varga WeiszCollection Ackermans, Xanten, GermanySolo
1998Wilde LeuteGalerie Bochynek, Düsseldorf, Germany Solo
1998Moving images without tearsGalerie Vera Munro, Hamburg, GermanyGroup
1996Zeitgenössische Kunst aus Nordrhein-WestfalenKulturhuset Stockholm, StockholmGroup