Lamp

Carlos Bunga

24 May 2002

Video, 1’ 34’’ (colour, sound)

Courtesy of the artist and Galería Elba Benítez, Madrid

Carlos Bunga (Porto, 1976) creates works that explore fragility and the ephemeral. Based on strategies of construction and destruction, his pieces are a kind of experimental laboratory for unlocking the architecture, history and cultural identities of certain spaces and places. His manual, intuitive works touch on the concepts of process and vulnerability, which are present in this small film, Lamp, in which the author destroys and reconstructs a light-bulb – utopia and metaphor for instability and the impossible.

Performance is another important aspect of Bunga’s work, as can be seen in pieces where he creates and then breaks things, draws and then erases his traces. In Lamp, Bunga starts with an existing object, and his actions are destructive right from the start. He later attempts to return the light-bulb to a useful state, a feat as impossible as bringing a corpse back to life.

Lamp is a metaphor for a whole range of things: for thought, reasoning and the complexity that exists in our minds, for the difficulty of accepting terms like transience and fragility, for the ephemeral nature of many things in life. Lamp explores the concept of physical and mental collapse, in a concise conceptual experiment that is recorded humbly and simply, through filming.

The work of Carlos Bunga contains equal amounts of discipline and poetry, improvisation and selfcontrol. In a romantic spirit, Bunga seeks an ideal, precious place that he himself dismantles before reality has a chance to destroy it. As the artist explains, the fact that the final fate of the work is “unclear” is one of its functions in his research into concepts or issues that interest him, which tend to include experimentation, based on an unflagging faith in the original idea and its resolution.