Alexandre Da Cunha

Exhibition   Works   Biography

Exhibition

  • Exhibition from october 6th to december 30th 2012 

Curated by Zoë Gray and Sophie Legrandjacques

The work of Alexandre da Cunha draws upon his own dual culture, as a Brazilian artist who has lived in London for several years. At the convergence of various movements (with references to the Duchampian readymade, or to architectural modernism), his work takes everyday things and turns them into objects of wonder.

His hybrid sculptures bring together the materials of mass consumption with an artisan's activity: the framed canvas from deckchairs mimic minimalist painting ("Deck Paintings" series, 2011), a colony of shoehorns standing like pot plants evoke a mutant garden ("Field", 2010), the heads of toilet plungers placed atop one another play on the refinements of art deco design or on the ethnographic object, presenting themselves as if the subject for a Giorgio Morandi still life ("Terracotta Ebony", 2006). With a disarming poetry, Da Cunha explores the infinite plasticity of objects and produces sculptures that create images.

While preserving the integrity of his source materials, Da Cunha wittily liberates new possibilities of aesthetic, political and social signification. Beach towels become ambiguous national flags ("Velour" Series, 2006), elegant modernist tapestries turn out to be woven from mop heads, 'proletarian' objects par excellence (the "Kentucky" series).

Behind these games of displacement and the interweaving of high and popular culture is the desire to avoid overly rapid readings or ethnocentric certitudes: Da Cunha's formalist practice is marked by a strong modernist vocabulary, yet is also closely linked to the development of cultural studies in the sense that it explores the representational - and emotional - connotations aroused by objects according to their cultural context.

For his first exhibition in France, Da Cunha presents an important body of recent works, as well as a series of previously unseen sculptures: "Full catastrophe (Drums)", a group of three 'pots' that are in fact the found drums of cement mixers, onto and into which the artist has subtly intervened. Resembling antique bronzes or archaeological finds, the brutality of the original material is transformed into a collection of works marked by a great elegance. With these new works, Da Cunha adds a important element to his family of 'modest monuments' and another take on modernity.

Eva Prouteau

Works

Piece of Land, 2007
Metal tins, concreter, tubes, wool, paint, broomsticks and fittings
Variable dimensions
The Kirkland Collection, London

Terrain, 2007
Wooden walking sticks, rubber gloves, electrical tape
Variable dimensions
Courtesy of the artist and CRG Gallery, New York

Bust, 2008
Mop, wool, concrete
120 x 20 x 20 cm
Courtesy of the artist and Thomas Dane Gallery, London

Gazebo I, 2008
Gazebo II, 2008
Canopy canvas, wooden stretcher
Each 230 x 300 cm
Courtesy of the artist and Sommer & Kohl gallery, Berlin

Bust XIX, 2009
Mop, wool, concrete
Courtesy of 12 X 24 X 36, Antwerp

Red Fountain, 2009
Plaster, concrete and plastic straw
136 x 40 x 40 cm
Courtesy of the Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre London

Terracotta Ebony VII, 2010
Plungers, wooden plinth
Courtesy of 12 X 24 X 36, Antwerp

Kentucky Pied de Poule II, 2011
Mop heads, dye, metal fittings
270 x 163 x 12 cm
Courtesy of the artist and CRG Gallery, New York

Bust XXXV, 2012
Mop, wool, concrete
125 x 20 x 20 cm
Courtesy of the artist and Thomas Dane Gallery, London

Full Catastrophe (drum IX), 2012
cement mixer drum, pigment, concrete, wooden plinth
118 x 60 x 60 cm
Courtesy of the artist and Thomas Dane Gallery, London

Full Catastrophe (drum X), 2012
cement mixer drum, pigment, concrete, wooden plinth
151 x 60 x 60 cm
Courtesy of the artist and Thomas Dane Gallery, London

Full Catastrophe (drum XI), 2012
cement mixer drum, pigment, concrete, wooden plinth
141 x 60 x 60 cm
Courtesy of the artist and Thomas Dane Gallery, London


Biographies

  • Born in Rio de Janeiro in 1969.
  • Lives and works in London.

His work can currently be seen at the Sao Paolo Biennial. Among many international exhibitions, he has shown at the Camden Arts Centre (London) in 2009, at CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts (San Francisco) in 2007, and at Witte de With (Rotterdam) in the 2011 exhibition "Making is thinking". He is represented by Luisa Strina in São Paulo, Thomas Dane in London, CRG in New York and Sommer & Kohl in Berlin.

Zoë Gray is a freelance curator based in Brussels. Vice-president of the IKT (International Association of Curators of Contemporary Art), she was a curator at the contemporary art centre Witte de With in Rotterdam from 2006 to 2011. She also curated the exhibitions "Cyprien Gaillard, Béton Belvédère" at Stroom, The Hague (2009), and ‘Manufacture' (with Sandra Patron) at Parc Saint Léger contemporary art centre in Pougues-les-Eaux, John Hansard Gallery in Southampton and the CentrePasquArt Biel/Bienne (2011-2012). She is also the author of the first monograph dedicated to Alexandre da Cunha's work, published by Cobogo in September 2012.
 

Galeries :

Vues d'exposition