Death of a Poet: Tunga, 1952-2016

“Art should be independent of a cultural moment or a country. I was concerned in having a vocabulary that could be understood by any culture, that could have been made by any hand.” — Tunga (Palmares, Pernambuco, 1952 – Rio de Janeiro, 2016)

Tunga/Photo: Daryan Dornelles

Tunga died of throat cancer on Monday, June 6, in Rio. On the occasion of his solo exhibit “La Voie Humide” in April 2014 at his New York gallery Luhring Augustine Chelsea, this enigmatic artist said, in a conversation at Soho House with curator Marí Carmen Ramirez, director of the Latin American art department at Houston’s MFAH: “We are in the contemporary age, but we could still be reading the old poets because the mystery is still there. The culture of poetry is still the same. I am a poet. This is my job.”

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