The cities Pedro Varela draws are far more connected to literature than to any reference in the visual arts. As if waiting for a text by Borges to accompany them, they reserve large blank spaces on the paper. They could also be mirages seen from afar by a character of A Thousand and One Nights, cities with female names like those by Italo Calvino, or castles from a tale we keep from the infancy of our experience in literature.
To these fictional allusions, Varela merges buildings we know from real places: I’ve seen that one in Chicago, that dome belongs to the city’s cathedral, that’s the Ontario Tower! Amidst mountains, Varela’s cities have a Rio de Janeiro accent: where but in Rio can one see a little castle besides a monumental rock that seems to support the sky-scraper? And then the drawings pour out of ballpoint pens and, alive like a real city, do not respect the paper limits, invading walls and danger zones such as windows. The glass, by the way, is a recurrent support for Varela’s experiences: looking through windows where his pen has been, we can see a castle hovering in the sky or exotic plants sprouting from the top of a concrete building. Varela also builds his magical and fluid worlds with adhesive vinyl sheets on paper, glass, wall, floor, or whatever he comes across and is willing to adhere to his whimsical urbanization.
Another support that corroborates the dreamy aspect of Pedro Varela’s style is fabric stretched on round wooden frames, which remind one of bubbles ready to disappear taking away the fantastic landscapes. Since 2008, Varela’s cities also appear in three-dimensions, built with white paper and glue, hanging from the ceiling by strings or resting on very thin pillars.