a healthy soil: Victoria Adam

1 December 2017 - 16 January 2018
Installation Views
Press release

Before her conversion she remained in guilt, being laden with debt of eternal punishment; in her conversion she was both armed and unconquered, by means of the armament of penance, devising an immolation of herself to atone for each of the pleasures she had enjoyed; after her conversion she was magnificent by the superabundance of grace, because where sin abounded, grace did more abound.

– Jacobus de Voraigne


A wild woman, Mary of Egypt, sits cross-legged on a rock, which is surrounded by grass and leafy plants. Her body, except for her breasts, hands, feet, and head, is covered with long tufts of hair. The hair of her head flows in thick, wavy strands. Her expressionless face is tilted to her right.

Another eremitic who was conventionally depicted as covered with hair like a wild man was Mary Magdalene, one of the holy women present at the Crucifixion. As a penitent, the Egyptian Mary is often confused with the Magdelene but can be distinguished by her attribute of three loaves of bread, which miraculously sustained her during her years in the wilderness. The ascension of her soul, unlike the Magdelene’s daily corporeal elevation, is seldom, if ever, depicted. 


Victoria Adam (b. 1983, Somerset, UK) graduated from Royal Academy of Art Schools in 2015 and from the Slade School of Art in 2006. Recent solo exhibitions include: the common toad, Temporary Gallery, Cologne, Germany, 2017; Chaperones, Milieu Gallery, Bern, Switzerland 2016; Zabludowicz Collection Invites, London 2016; Leks, Marian Cramer Projects, Amsterdam; and middens, Kingsgate Project Space, London 2015. Recent group exhibition include Bloomberg New Contemporaries, Bluecoat, Liverpool / ICA, London 2016, Lonesome Wife, Seventeen, London, 2016, and On cold spring land, Assembly Point, London, 2017. Adam lives and works in London, UK.