Category: Commissions — Published:

“I like to work with open doors because an installation is a kind of unconscious performance. There, I work with no previous sketches or plans; the space is my laboratory and I’m making all the decision onsite, so I like to show this part of the creative process.”

Carlos Bunga, Carlos Bunga: Something Necessary and Useful catalogue, 2019

Installation in progress of Carlos Bunga: Something Necessary and Useful, 2019, Courtesy Whitechapel Gallery.


Carlos Bunga (b.1976 Portugal) makes painted cardboard constructions and repurposes domestic furnishings and fabrics to create an evolving installation in dialogue with the historic interiors of the gallery and its public for his first UK commission. Bunga encourages the public to witness his installation in progress, and to see it cut and re-arranged during the course of the exhibition. There are no fixed forms in Bunga’s environments – everything can be moved and transformed.

Bunga draws on his own experience of displacement and loss; but he is also inspired by the American Shaker movement’s insistence on simplicity in their interiors and furniture, exploring what is necessary and useful in art, architecture and design.

Click here to find out more about his current exhibition, Something Necessary and Useful, and hear from London-based artist and choreographer Joe Moran about a new dance work made to coincide with the commission.

Dance rehearsals led by Joe Moran in the exhibition Carlos Bunga: Something Necessary and Useful, © Whitechapel Gallery, Dancers: Temitope Ajose-Cutting and Eve Stainton, Photo: Nick Seaton.


Carlos Bunga (b. 1976, Porto) lives and works in Barcelona. He studied painting at the Escola Superior de Arte e Design in Caldas da Rainha in Portugal. Solo exhibitions include: Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2011), Museu Serralves, Porto (2012), Museo Universitario de Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico City (2013), Haus Konstruktiv Museum, Zurich (2015) and the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (2015) and Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology (MAAT), Lisbon (2019), Museum of Contemporary Art, Toronto and Secession, Vienna (both 2020). Group exhibitions include: Manifesta 5, San Sebastián (2004), the New Museum, New York (2007), Warsaw Museum of Modern Art (2009), 14th Carrara International Sculpture Biennial (2010), 29th São Paulo Biennial (2010), Artes Mundi 6, Cardiff (2013), and the Chicago Architecture Biennial (2015). His work is included in notable collections including: The Museum of Modern Art (New York); “la Caixa” Collection of Contemporary Art (Barcelona); and Hammer Museum (Los Angeles). He is currently represented by Galería Elba Benítez (Madrid) and Alexander and Bonin (New York).