Alexandre da Cunha - Le Grand Café
Alexandre da Cunha - Le Grand Café
Alexandre da Cunha - Le Grand Café
Alexandre da Cunha - Le Grand Café
Alexandre da Cunha - Le Grand Café
Alexandre da Cunha - Le Grand Café
Alexandre da Cunha - Le Grand Café
Alexandre da Cunha - Le Grand Café
Alexandre da Cunha - Le Grand Café
Alexandre da Cunha - Le Grand Café
Alexandre da Cunha - Le Grand Café
Alexandre da Cunha - Le Grand Café
Alexandre da Cunha - Le Grand Café
Alexandre da Cunha - Le Grand Café
Alexandre da Cunha - Le Grand Café
Alexandre da Cunha - Le Grand Café

Exhibition

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. Éva Prouteau

Artworks

Ground Floor / Large Room

Alexandre da Cunha
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
Alexandre da Cunha
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
Alexandre da Cunha
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
Alexandre da Cunha
Terracotta Ebony VII
2010
Plungers, wooden plinth Courtesy 12 X 24 X 36, Antwerp
Alexandre da Cunha
Bust XXXV
2012
Mop, wool, concrete 125 x 20 x 20 cm Courtesy of the artist and Thomas Dane Gallery, London
Alexandre da Cunha
Bust XIX
2009
Mop, wool, concrete Courtesy 12 X 24 X 36, Antwerp
Alexandre da Cunha
Bust
2008
Mop, wool, concrete 120 x 20 x 20 cm Courtesy of the artist and Thomas Dane Gallery, London
Ground Floor / Small Room

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

Alexandre da Cunha
Gazebo I and II
2008
Canopy canvas, wooden stretcher Each 230 x 300 cm Courtesy of the artist and Sommer & Kohl gallery, Berlin
Alexandre da Cunha
Piece of Land
2007
Metal tins, concreter, tubes, wool, paint, broomsticks and fittings Variable dimensions The Kirkland's Collection, London
Alexandre da Cunha
Terrain
2007
Wooden walking sticks, rubber gloves, electrical tape Variable dimensions Courtesy of the artist and CRG Gallery, New York

Biographies

Born in 1969 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Lives and works in London. The artist is represented by Thomas Dane Gallery (London). gallery website
Zoë Gray est commissaire d'exposition indépendante à Bruxelles. Vice-présidente de l'IKT (association internationale des curateurs d'art contemporain), elle a occupé un poste de curateur au centre d'art contemporain Witte de With, à Rotterdam, de 2006 à 2011