Tunga (1952-2016)

534 x 558 x 1012 in. (14.6 x 14.3 x 26.7 cm.)
Executed in 1997.
Gift from the artist to the present owner (1998-1999).
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Lot Essay

Among the pioneering generation of Brazilian conceptualists, Tunga probed the nature and transgression of materials in mixed-media sculptures and installations, evolving elaborate iconographies of ritual, seduction, and metamorphosis. The present sculpture belongs to a family of works, among them Milky Fallings (1994), Untitled (Goblets and Snakes) (1996), and Lips (1999), in which terracotta sculptures are forged into bronze pieces—bells, cups, amphorae—and then covered with makeup or glazes. Here, the material transformation from clay to bronze is superficially undone through the application of roseate, clay-based make-up; the bronze objects are in effect reincarnated by the material stuff of their making, their surfaces suggestively flesh-like and softly gleaming.

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