Since the mid-1970s, Tunga has created works of exuberant imagery in design, sculpture, installation, film, video and performance. Its multimedia drive is associated with an understanding of art as a multidisciplinary field, in which philosophy, natural sciences and literature go hand in hand with the visual arts; it is about understanding the physical actions of a work as part of thinking about it, avoiding the dissociation between theory and practice of the same phenomenon.
Tunga is one of the most important names in the collection of Inhotim, being a founding artist and beacon of the concept of your artistic collection. Deleite (1999) is one of the first works to be integrated into the collection and to be assembled in Inhotim. When using bells, walking sticks, magnets, chains and benches made of iron and leather, objects and materials that are his poetics, the artist creates a situation in which fantasy is the guiding thread of a prolific narrative in symbolism and with different meaning, in a field where fact and fiction are confused. In their production, objects are multiplied in installations that resort to excess, exposing the constitutive materials and mixtures that challenge the physical qualities of each one. Architect by training, Tunga’s work seeks its references in literature and philosophy, but also in biology, zoology, medicine, archeology and the exact sciences.
Since the 1970s, Tunga has been producing in various media, with an emphasis on installations and sculptures, in addition to performances with the participation of actors. In several of his works, the installation is configured as record of an action or as a memory of the presence of the body and life.
Antonio José de Barros Carvalho e Mello Mourao, known as Tunga (Palmares, 8 of February of 1952 – Rio de Janeiro, 6 of June of 2016), it was a sculptor, designer and performance artist Brazil. He is considered one of the most emblematic figures of the national art scene.
He was the first contemporary artist and the first Brazilian to have a work exhibited at the iconic Louvre Museum in Paris.
He has works in permanent collections of museums like the Guggenheim in Venice, and galleries dedicated to his work at the Inhotim Institute.
In order to create his works, Tunga investigated areas of knowledge such as literature, psychoanalysis, theater and exact and biological sciences. In his sculptures and installations he used materials such as chains, electrical wires, lamps, felt and rubber. In addition, his work was loaded with symbolism, using bones, skulls, thimbles and needles.
Born in Palmares, Pernambuco, moved to Rio de Janeiro, where he graduated in architecture and urbanism of the Universidade Santa Ursula. Son of the writer Gerardo de Mello Mourão, Tunga got to know Brazilian modernism very early. He began his career in the early 1970s. At the time, he made drawings and sculptures. Draws figurative images with daring themes, as in the Museu da Masturbação Infantil (1974). Collaborator of the magazine “Malasartes” and of the newspaper “A Parte do Fogo”, he held, in the 1980s, conferences at the Philosophy Institute ofFederal University of Rio de Janeiro, at the Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism at the Santa Úrsula University and at the Candido Mendes University. He received the State Government Award for an exhibition held at the Art Museum of Rio Grande do Sul, in 1986. The following year, he made the video “Nervo de Prata,” made in partnership with Arthur Omar. In 1990, he received the Brasília Plastic Arts Award and, in 1991, the Mário Pedrosa Award from the Brazilian Association of Art Critics (ABCA) for the work “Preliminares do Palíndromo Incesto”. In order to carry out his work, he investigated areas of knowledge such as literature, philosophy, psychoanalysis, theater, as well as disciplines in the exact and biological sciences. He died in Rio de Janeiro on June 6, 2016, victim of throat cancer.
copper, steel and magnet
Cooking Crystals Expanded, 2009
Nociferatu, 2001 – 2011
Palindrome incest, 1990 – 1992
copper wire, magnet, copper sheets and o iron filings
16 mm B&W film projection in loop and sound installation
A Luz dos Dois Mundos
blown glass, light and silk
Laboratory Nosferatu, 1999 – 2012
glass laminate, mirror, iron, blown glass, light and paper
Instituto Inhotim is located in Brumadinho, 60 kilometers (37 miles) from Belo Horizonte, the capital of the state of Minas Gerais, and the third largest metropolitan area in Brazil. Inhotim features an internationally relevant art collection, located within 140 hectares (346 acres) of forests and botanical gardens.
The institution emerged in 2004 to house the collection of Bernardo Paz, a businessman in the mining and steel industry, who was married to Rio de Janeiro artist Adriana Varejão, and 20 years ago began to dispose of his valuable collection of modernist art, which included works by Portinari, Guignard and Di Cavalcanti, to form the collection of contemporary art that is now in Inhotim. In 2014, the open air museum was elected, by the TripAdvisor website, one of the 25 museums in the world best rated by users.
Besides the galleries dedicated to solo presentations of artist and the permanent outdoor works, the galleries Fonte, Lago, Mata, Praça and Galpão house temporary exhibitions drawn from the growing contemporary art collection which now consists of more than 700 works by 200 artists from different countries around the world. By collaborating with artists in commissioning new works and adapting existing ones to new spaces, Inhotim’s artistic projects have dealt with landscape and nature, and have accumulated an impressive grouping of large-scale works. Having arisen from a private garden, Inhotim has developed an intensive line of work aimed at the preservation and development of vegetation and botanical research, pursuing new ways to preserve the biodiversity of the surrounding region and Brazil.
Alongside its cultural role, activity that has qualified the institute as a civil-society organization of public interest (OSCIP). In 2010 the institution received the official title of Botanical Garden by the Comissão Nacional de Jardins Botânicos. The exuberant botanical collection is shown in the institution’s gardens contains about 5,000 species of plants, many of them threatened with extinction.