New art in the SCHIRN Rotunda: With his architectural installations, artist Carlos Bunga creates temporary works that focus on becoming and perishing and react to existing spatial structures.
From February 18 to May 22, 2022, the Schirn presents the site-specific work “I always tried to imagine my home” by Carlos Bunga, specially developed for the Schirn Rotunda. With his architectural installations, the Portuguese artist creates temporary works that focus on becoming and perishing and react to existing spatial structures. At times monumental, his constructions duplicate the space in which they are shown: they position themselves in front of walls—obscuring and transforming them—and enable a dialogue between architectures.
Carlos Bunga defines his art as nomadic. The instability of habitats, displacement, and migration have a formative effect on the work of the artist, whose mother fled to Portugal from Angola to escape the civil war. “My house,” says the artist, “has no doors or windows, no stairs or yard, no ceiling or rooms, no tables or cupboards, no chairs or paintings. My house is the people I love.” His architectural installations challenge ideas of security and the certainty of human and material existence, instead suggesting that the only constant is perpetual change. In his expansive works, the artist uses simple materials such as cardboard panels and tape. Their everyday usage, mostly in connection with storage and transport, forms a bridge to the immediate reality of life. Following a modular vocabulary of forms, his constructions integrate natural materials and pick up on the formal features of their respective surroundings. The works undergo a transformative process that begins with their inception, continues as they weather in outdoor spaces, and ends with their dismantling by the artist.
My house has no doors or windows, no stairs or yard [...] My house is the people I love.
For the Rotunda at the Schirn, Bunga has devised a new installation that responds to the specific architecture of the publicly accessible place. Pieces of old wooden furniture arranged in a circle form the foundation walls of a cardboard architecture that extends to a height of around twelve meters, reaching right beneath the dome and creating a counterpoint to the surrounding static architecture of stone and glass. The spatial quality of the work initiates an experience that is both physical and mental. Upon entering, the visitors activate the space. As a living part of the present, they move between the past—set in stone—and the idea of a possible future, thereby forming part of a constant process of change. The eventual dismantling of the work by the artist in a public performance represents a central part of the exhibition.
Carlos Bunga studied painting at the Escola Superior de Arte e Design in Caldas da Rainha in Portugal. He then expanded his practice to include conceptual, performative, and installation-based approaches. Since the mid-2000s, he has become internationally known in particular for his site-specific installations and performances. Bunga has exhibited in numerous institutions in Europe, the United States, and Latin America, and has also realized several large-scale projects in public spaces. Most recently in 2020, he exhibited at the Whitechapel Gallery in London, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Toronto, and the Vienna Secession. He lives and works near Barcelona.