Carlos Bunga: A Sudden Beginning

Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto, Toronto, Canada
06 Feb 2020 - 10 May 2020

Carlos Bunga, I am a Nomad (detail), 2008. Acrylic on chromogenic color print. Photo courtesy the artist, Galería Elba Benítez (Madrid) and Alexander and Bonin (New York).

Carlos Bunga is a nomad. Over the past two decades, the Portuguese, Barcelona-based artist has traversed the world, erecting colossal yet intimate structures that he has named Ruin (2008), Landscape (2011), Mausoleum (2012), Agora (2013), Chapel (2015) and most recently, Cathedral (2019).

Engineered with cardboard, adhesive tape and household paint, Bunga’s constructions are improvisational and temporary. Once realized, they recall human-scale architectural models, temporary street shelters and modern ruins. Emerging from an invitation to respond to existing architecture, each of his projects provides a singular experience, in which alternative spaces make room for new possibilities. Although each of his projects is distinct and fleeting, they are sustained by the artist’s bodily practice and the memories of those who experience them.

For his first exhibition in Canada, Bunga has been invited to produce two major site-responsive works for MOCA. Inspired by the simplicity of the museum’s architecture and the rhythm of its columns, Bunga will both stress and challenge the structure’s physicality. His formidable installations and nomadic sensibility will deepen his long-standing inquiry into some of the most poignant subjects of our time: stability, certainty and permanence. Incorporated into the exhibition are several new sculptures made from locally sourced furniture — side tables, writing desks, gilded frames and cabinets — that are reworked into painterly cityscapes. Enlivening Bunga’s project further are short films of performative breakages — the smashing of a lamp, the bursting of a wall — each of which express a rupture’s potential to be as much about a sudden beginning, as it is the sign of an end.


Carlos Bunga currently lives and works near Barcelona. His work has recently been featured in group exhibitions at the Guggenheim Bilbao (2016), Artes Mundi 6 in Cardiff, UK (2013) and the Chicago Architecture Biennial (2015). He has had solo exhibitions at numerous museums, including Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2011), Museu Serralves, Porto (2012), Museo Universitario de Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico City (2013), Museo Amparo, Puebla (2014), Haus Konstruktiv Museum, Zurich (2015), the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (2015) and the MAAT, Lisbon (2019). Bunga’s upcoming exhibitions in 2020 will take place at the Whitechapel Gallery in London, MOCA Toronto and Secession in Wien.

Curated by MOCA Adjunct Curator Rui Mateus Amaral.


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