documenta X - home June 21 - September 28, 1997
Tunga: Interview
On the Value of Intuitive Perception
A few years ago, I learned that one can speak about problems and difficult subjects with people who have no aesthetic culture, even - although on different levels - at the same time as with people who have an in-depth cultural education. I'll name an example: in an exhibition, I once showed a film-loop of a tunnel, accompanied by Frank Sinatra's »Night and Day«. One visitor stood in front of it for hours, as if hypnotized. I approached him and asked what was wrong, and he told me that he had recently been operated on and had experienced clinical death, which he remembered exactly as this endless tunnel. The work had reminded him of that moment, something which he was very thankful for. I spoke with him some more, and although he was a very simple person, he had a spontaneous, intuitive knowledge of the themes I was concerned with in my work: the idea of continuity, circulation, timelessness. An exhibition like the documenta has to deal more respectfully with people who aren't specialists, who aren't initiates. I am convinced that a density can be achieved and made accessible through communication. Tunga: Performance
Tunga: Performance
Sensuality and Rationality
I believe that a great mistake is made in the way Soma and Psyche are separated here in Europe, a result of the over-importance of reason. This also affects the view of art from the region called Brazil. There, physical space is activated in a different way. One sees this, for example, in Oiticica, Lygia Clark, Soto, and SÚrgio de Camargo, among others. I believe that when physical experience comes into play, one finds that emotions, feelings, and corporeality are also forms of thinking. When this kind of knowledge is included in the actual thinking program, there comes into existence a form of reasoning which is more than strict abstraction. In fact, for every theory in physics, there is an anecdote serving as the point of departure for the development of this theory, i.e. Newtons' apple. The perception of our reason is based on physical experience, and forsees the theory which is to be built not with a natural, but with a constructed language. However, artwork with a connection to reason can come out of the sensuality of natural language. And when I see Rothko or hear Billie Holiday, I know that I'm right. Tunga: Performance
Relationship to »Cabeza colectiva« by Lygia Clark?
In the catalog, there is a picture of a group of men in Africa carrying the roof of a hut. The structure is very similar to my idea, as well as the afore-mentioned Caryatides, who carry a temple like a great collective hat. This idea of the hat contains a paradox: a hat is something very individual, and to transform these individuals into something collective is a challenge. Therefore it is appropriate to see, at most, a connection to Lygias' work in the sense of an archetype, but not in the sense of a cultural inheritance of one artist from another.

I think it is a mistake to look for a genealogy in Brazilian art, just as it is a mistake to speak of »Latin American« art. Even the term »international art« is dangerous, as »inter-national« automatically implies the idea of nations. And as we know, this expression has given rise to many dictators in the world. It is necessary to practice a more general critique, and to begin to think in other perspectives.

For example: I come from an area called Brazil, and am therefore influenced by Indian, Portuguese, and African cultures, In addition, I've had experience with that which is called Spanish-America, because I lived in Chile during my youth. There is not just one Latin America - many areas are as un-homogenous as Brazil - but rather innumerable Latin Americas. However, when I show work in the USA or in Europe, mainly in Europe, most people say that the majority of works from Latin America are fantasies in search of a single identity. It fails to be understood that I have no need for such an identity, that these people aren't looking for an identity. Identity is a European problem.   next >>
Tunga: Performance
Tunga: Performance
Tunga: Performance
Tunga / Interview - 2 Interview - 4

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