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Tunga

Brazilian  •  1952-2016

Biography

Tunga was born in Palmares, Brazil and trained as an architect. He chose to pursue a visual arts career, through which he is best known for his subversive sculpture, installations and performances. At only 22, Tunga held his first solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in Rio de Janeiro, drawing the attention of the art world with the title Museu da Masturbação Infantil (Museum of Childhood Masturbation).

Like this first exhibition, Tunga's works are psychologically charged and influenced by Surrealism and Constructivism. His art is highly conceptual and conveys spatial concerns, often dealing with bodily organs and functions, desires and rituals that he depicted in enigmatic environments, employing non-traditional mediums such as teeth, hair, nets and skulls.

Insights

  • Tunga was the son of well-known poet and journalist Gerardo Melo Moura~o and social activist Léa Barros, which indirectly influenced his interests and works.

  • Tunga was the first Latin American artist invited to create an exhibition for the Louvre in Paris.

  • Tunga's peculiar investigations of poetry, alchemy and the mythological differentiate him from his contemporaries in Brazil.

"There is more mystery in light than in darkness, in death."

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