Tunga in Memorium

Luhring Augustine

(Antônio José de Barros Carvalho e Mello Mourão)
Palmares, Brazil 1952 – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 2016

Portrait by Daniela Paoliello, Courtesy of Instituto Inhotim

We are deeply saddened to share the news that our beloved artist and friend Tunga has passed away. One of the preeminent and most singular artists of our time, Tunga was a key member of the artistic and broader intellectual communities in his native Brazil, as well as abroad, since the beginning of his practice in the early 1970s. He described himself as poet and alchemist, and sought to reveal the mythical undercurrents of modern life through an interconnected body of work that incorporated sculpture, installation, performance, drawing, writing, and film. Tunga was a tremendous force both personally and artistically, and was as firmly rooted in Brazilian aesthetic, cultural, and philosophical traditions as he was in their international counterparts. He was both rigorous and curious in his investigations, and he leaves behind a remarkable legacy through a complex and sensual body of work that is equally distinctive and evocative.

Tunga, Xifópagas Capilares, 1984, Performance at Kanaal Art Foundation, Kortrijk, Belgium, 1989

Tunga had numerous solo exhibitions dedicated to his work, examples of which are included in the permanent collections of museums around the world. He presented major installations and performances at the 40th and 46th Biennale di Venezia, Documenta X, and in four iterations of the Bienal de São Paulo. His impassioned and generous spirit will be missed.

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