The contemporary artist Tunga makes enigmatic sculpture and installations that combine traditions of Brazilian Constructivism and Surrealism to create a unique visual language. Lezart is a highly complex installation that is constructed of elemental substances such as copper, iron, and magnets. Its forms—combs, lizards, strands of hair—bear metaphoric and narrative links rooted in fictional writings by the artist. This piece is strongly related to a recurring text and performance involving the tale of Siamese twins, joined by the hair, who are sacrificed at puberty. Their salvaged scalp is passed on to a woman who extracts blond hairs from it to embroider an image from her dreams. As she does this, the threads turn to gold. The title of the piece, Lezart, refers directly to the cast-metal lizards that are found throughout the work and that continue the Siamese twin motif through a hybrid creature whose body ends in two heads or two tails. Tunga’s compelling vision, as it plays out in sculpture, installation, text, and performance, relies on age-old symbols, evocations of childhood fairy tales, and alchemical transformation that engage the viewer in the seductive materiality of the artist's sculpture and the myth surrounding its creation.


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Artist
Tunga, Brazilian, 1952–2016
Title
Lezart I
Date
1989
Medium
Iron, copper, magnets, and embroidered silk
Dimensions
196 7/8 × 315 × 137 3/4 in. (500.1 × 800.1 × 349.9 cm)
Credit Line

Museum purchase funded by the Caroline Wiess Law Accessions Endowment Fund

Current Location
Not on view
Accession Number
2009.572
Classification
Installation Art
Provenance

The artist; [Luhring Augustine Gallery, New York]; sold to MFAH, 2009.