Tunga (1952 - 2016)

Jardins de mandrágoras (1992)
Mandrake Gardens

Mixed media
height: 52cm
width: 20cm

Donated by Charles Cosac 1994


Jardins de Mandrâgoras has connections with many other works by Tunga, both in terms of the apparently disparate materials used and the way in which they are assembled and amalgamated to create a new sculptural body with a metaphorical flow of energy between the different elements. In this piece inorganic substances, including magnets, wire, copper and a thermometer, are juxtaposed with organic objects - a tooth and a frog -, each element defined through the fluid and changing relationship with the others. Magnets are a fundamental component in Tunga's work and are often used to question the boundary between the real and the virtual, what is sensed but not seen: in Jardins de Mandrâgoras the visible weight of the filings resonates with the invisible presence of the magnetic force fields. The tooth and the frog, the other prominent materials in the work also represent a continuing preoccupation with the sometimes uneasy co-existence in Brazilian cities of the unruliness of tropical nature and the imposed order of human life.

Jardins de Mandrâgoras relates to a series of works on video in which Tunga, assuming the role of modern alchemist, sets the sculptures alight in order to bind the opposing elements through fire. Achieved through the fusion of scientific substances with natural materials that hint at mythology and narrative, this lyrical process of transformation in Jardins de Mandrâgoras is an integral part of the exhibited work, shared with the viewer who, ultimately, is asked to inhabit the piece with their imagination and all their senses.

Felicity Lunn, 2008

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