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A Sudden Beginning

Carlos Bunga

February 6–September 7, 2020 (Floor 1)
February 6–October 4, 2020 (Floor 2)

Carlos Bunga is a nomad. Over the past two decades, the Portuguese, Barcelona-based artist has traversed the world, erecting colossal yet intimate structures that he has named Ruin (2008), Landscape (2011), Mausoleum (2012), Agora (2013), Chapel (2015) and most recently, Cathedral (2019). Engineered with cardboard, adhesive tape and household paint, Bunga’s constructions are improvisational and temporary. Once realized, they recall human-scale architectural models, temporary street shelters and modern ruins. Emerging from an invitation to respond to existing architecture, each of his projects provides a singular experience, in which alternative spaces make room for new possibilities. Although each of his projects is distinct and fleeting, they are sustained by the artist’s bodily practice and the memories of those who experience them.

For his first exhibition in Canada, Bunga has been invited to produce two major site-responsive works for MOCA. Inspired by the simplicity of the museum’s architecture and the rhythm of its columns, Bunga both stresses and challenges the structure’s physicality. His formidable installations and nomadic sensibility deepen his long-standing inquiry into some of the most poignant subjects of our time: stability, certainty and permanence. Incorporated into the exhibition are several new sculptures made from locally sourced furniture — side tables, writing desks, gilded frames and cabinets — that are reworked into painterly cityscapes. Enlivening Bunga’s project further is a short film of a performative breakage — the smashing of a lamp — and a sound piece installed in the south stairwell, each of which express a rupture’s potential to be as much about a sudden beginning, as it is the sign of an end.

Carlos Bunga currently lives and works near Barcelona. His work has recently been featured in group exhibitions at the Guggenheim Bilbao (2016), Artes Mundi 6 in Cardiff, UK (2013) and the Chicago Architecture Biennial (2015). He has had solo exhibitions at numerous museums, including Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2011), Museu Serralves, Porto (2012), Museo Universitario de Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico City (2013), Museo Amparo, Puebla (2014), Haus Konstruktiv Museum, Zurich (2015), the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (2015) and the MAAT, Lisbon (2019). Bunga’s upcoming exhibitions in 2020 will take place at the Whitechapel Gallery in London, MOCA Toronto and Secession in Wien.

Curated by MOCA Adjunct Curator Rui Mateus Amaral.

Tour of A Sudden Beginning with Curator Rui Mateus Amaral

Intervening A Sudden Beginning Performance

Making of A Sudden Beginning

Public Programmes

Intervening "A Sudden Beginning" | February 5

allie higgins, Lauren Runions, Denise Solleza, Yui Ugai and Shelby Wright

To mark the opening of MOCA’s 2020 winter exhibitions, this performative intervention will take place within and alongside Carlos Bunga’s large-scale cardboard installations included in, A Sudden Beginning. Through a succession of slow and deliberate movements carried out by five dancers, this performance positions Bunga’s installation as a passageway and transitional space, softening the relationship between body and materiality. Choreographed by Lauren Runions of I/O Movement.

This performance takes place during our Winter 2020 Members’ Preview and Public Opening on Wednesday, February 5:

7 pm (Members’ Preview)
8:30 pm (Public Opening)

Movement Workshop with Pia Bouman and Annie Feiler | February 17

This Family Day, join choreographers Pia Bouman and Annie Feiler for a movement workshop that will guide participants through Carlos Bunga’s sprawling cardboard installation, A Sudden Beginning. Through a series of somatic prompts, participants will be invited to interact with the installation and reflect on themes of architecture and temporality.

Pia Bouman is a choreographer whose works reflect on the immediate — on things that must be shared to become part of collective memory. With many of her works appearing at dance festivals and schools throughout Toronto, Bouman performed Dissemination, a solo created for her by Alison Cummins, as part of the Older & Reckless series (curated by Claudia Moore) in 2012, and a self-choreographed piece, Erasing Margins, as part of the same series in 2018. She is the founder and Artistic Director of the Pia Bouman School for Ballet and Creative Movement, a not-for-profit organization with a unique and inclusive mandate. After 42 years in Parkdale, the school opened its doors on Sterling Road in September 2019.

Annie Feiler received her dance education at the Pia Bouman School for Ballet and Creative Movement and, later, in Windsor, Ontario, with Anne Marie Pilon Gerdun. After reconnecting with Bouman following her university studies, Feiler teaches in the school’s Young Children’s Program.

This workshop takes place at two times on Monday, February 17. Sign up below:

11:30 am
2:30 pm

Artists on Artists: Daniel Rotsztain on Carlos Bunga’s “A Sudden Beginning” | Postponed


At an existential moment in Toronto’s development, how does Carlos Bunga’s A Sudden Beginning respond, not just to MOCA, but to the city beyond? This tour by urban geographer Daniel Rotsztain will explore how Bunga’s work can help us grapple with the uncertainty and impermanence of a rapidly changing urban environment. How do we locate ourselves in a city that is shifting beneath our feet? Where do our stories live when the landscape is unstable? Bunga’s immersive, impermanent sculptures offer clues.

MOCA’s Artists on Artists series is a programme where local artists are invited to discuss MOCA’s current exhibitions, or a single artwork, in any format or direction of their choosing.


Daniel Rotsztain is an urban geographer, artist, writer and cartographer whose work examines our relationship to the places we inhabit. The author and illustrator of All the Libraries Toronto and A Colourful History Toronto, Rotsztain’s work has been featured in the Globe and Mail and Toronto Star and as a regular segment on CBC Radio’s Here and Now. A frequenter of libraries, malls and strip malls, Rotsztain seeks to understand and support the diverse settings of the city’s public life through walking tours, residencies and landscape interventions. He is the co-lead of plazaPOPS, an initiative dedicated to recognizing and enhancing strip mall parking lots as community gathering spaces in Toronto’s inner suburbs.

Carlos Bunga Supporters
Carlos Bunga, Occupy, 2020. MOCA Toronto. Courtesy the artist, Galeria Elba (Madrid) and Alexander and Bonin (New York).Photo by Toni Hafkenscheid.