35th Bienal de São Paulo
6 Set to 10 Dec 2023
Free Admission
35th Bienal de
São Paulo
6 Set to 10 Dec
Installation view of Habitar el color, by Carlos Bunga during the 35th Bienal de São Paulo – choreographies of the impossible © Levi Fanan / Fundação Bienal de São Paulo

Carlos Bunga

When the subject of conversation is the scale of Carlos Bunga’s work, it will always be lively. Firstly, for an obvious reason, because the theme is common enough in the context of site-specific art and installation. But the real reason lies in the gravitational singularity of the bodies in question. For approximately two decades, Bunga has been building and destroying a work whose evanescent axes insist on messing up the notions of grandeur and measurement in space-time. The monumentality of color, for example. To go beyond painting and canvas, color will need a skin (Superfície cutânea [Cutaneous surface], 2015), and a poetics of explosion-expansion through the sensory continuum. Thus it is possible Habitar el color [Inhabit the color] (2015–-ongoing), a work that spreads a huge area of paint on the floor and invites the public to take off their shoes and walk into it, to see the color with their feet, to feel the skin on their own skin. If color was once eternal in the paintings of the great masters, in this work it is as splendidly able to rot as our flesh.

Elsewhere, Bunga will be seen working to erect grandiose structures using cardboard and tape as support in his installations, which sometimes become a stage for dance performances (Occupy, 2020). He is interested in the shaky structure that clearly announces the choreography of its own ruin; to place assembly and disassembly in a feedback process. He is interested in those interstitial zones where measures escape Sumerian and Indo-Arabic rationality – the ten and the sixty, or even the eleven dimensions of contemporary physics/mysticism. What systems will we have to resort to if we still want to insist on the task of narrating and retelling the Universe? Bunga’s steps – his dance – describe, if not answers, the courage to keep moving in the face of those three fundamental questions of our everlasting big bang: Who? From where? To where?

igor de albuquerque
translated from Portuguese by philip somervell

Carlos Bunga (Porto, Portugal, 1976. Lives in Barcelona, Spain) creates process-oriented works in various formats – sculptures, paintings, drawings, performances, video, and above all in situ installations that intervene in their architectural surroundings. Carlos Bunga’s work has been exhibited in major international museums and art centers such as Museo Reina Sofía (Madrid, Spain), Museu de Serralves (Porto, Portugal), Museo Universitario de Arte Contemporáneo MUAC-UNAM (Mexico City), Whitechapel Gallery (London, UK), Secession (Vienna, Austria), and 29th Bienal de São Paulo (Brasil), among others. 

This participation is supported by República Portuguesa – Cultura / Direção-Geral das Artes.