Do not try to categorize Carlos Bunga’s artwork, this is something unique. This is not painting, not architecture nor a performance or sculpture; this is all together. Spain based Portuguese artist Carlos Bunga builds oversized precarious structures with cardboard and adhesive tape that he covers with paint. The only constrain is the space he has to play with. It could be a large one or small one, no matter for Carlos Bunga he takes it all because this guy has a vision that goes far beyond the space limit and the cardboard.
“…..We have more doubt than answers, and those same doubts make us search question and move forward” says the artist. At the Escola Superior di Arte e Design in Portugal, he studied the history of Art and Colonialism especially vivid in Portugal of course, and since his beginnings as a painter he never stops questioning himself, “Why?” is the most redundant. “Why am I doing those paintings?” was the very first question that led him to the idea of putting them into a context with the use of cardboard; that context slightly turned into a larger question of “build and destroy” that context. At the same time, he “found the concepts of Minimalism very appealing as they made the spectator very conscious of his/her own body” and his “interest in architecture and spatial issues became more noticeable in each new work”
One of the results of this long journey was to be seen at Christopher Grimes Gallery in Santa Monica, California with the exhibition: Future Anterior (Jan 19th-March 9th)
In the main space of the gallery, two monumental structures stand, identical in size and shape but different colors, face to face in a strange silent dialogue. Each side was first anchored to the ground with panels of cardboard assembled up to the ceiling. Then they were painted in white for left side and “south beach” color for the right side. At the end the artist decided to cut them all along at their base to move each one a little bit further leaving the foundations with wounds open as if they will never gonna heal.
We enter through the left side, the white one, in an “in between” space (between the foundation and the structure itself) that exudes a very special atmosphere as if it was inhabited or haunted. This empty space is fulfilled with something exactly like an empty space on a sheet of paper when it is surrounded by a simple line of graphite.
We reproduce the same experience with the right side, there is still a feeling but tiny different one because the “south beach” color paint spreads also the whole space in a way that reassures us, like being in a soft warm summer night.
Then when we penetrate inside the structure made with these two cut pieces. From the outside they are like two orphans facing themselves. But from the inside the place is soft, warm, we feel protected. It seems that nothing can happen to us.
No doubt, Carlos’ site-specific installations are providers of outstanding feelings. Penetrating in a monumental assemblage of cardboard is as powerful as to look at “the Scream” by German artist Edward Munch.
Beyond the appearance we feel strength and fragility, eternity and ephemeral, destruction and construction, violence and peace. We are thrilled to feel the next one.