Alexandre da Cunha discusses his practice, in which he transforms everyday or found objects into sculpture and wall-mounted works that are grounded in a material aesthetic and ethic. Influenced by both systems of mass production and artisanal craftsmanship, the objects he creates appear to be a mix between popular consumer object and archaeological relic. Da Cunha has described his practice not as ‘making’ but as ‘pointing’; pointing at existing objects in our everyday surroundings, and highlighting or revealing new and unexpected facets or meanings within them. This approach has allowed him to unpick our preconceptions and instinctive responses to things, and shift our perspective to new ways of seeing and understanding. This shift gives way to a lush potential, not only in interpreting his work, but also in everything we subsequently see around us in the world. Household cleaning objects suddenly conjure spiritual significance, and lofty art historical precedents are echoed by hitherto mundane industrial ready-mades.
Alexandre da Cunha (Brazil, 1969) lives and works between London and Sao Paulo. His work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at Pivô, Sao Paulo; Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Chicago; and Camden Arts Centre, London. His work has appeared in group exhibitions at ICA Boston, Boston; Musee d’Art Modern de la Ville, Paris; CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco; Witte De With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam and the 30th Sao Paulo Biennial. His work is included in the collections of Tate Modern, London; Inhotim, Brumadinho.
He recently had a collaborative project with sculptor Phillip King at Royal Society of Sculptors in London and is currently working on a large scale commission for London Underground to be revealed at the end of 2020.
This talk is part of the Testing Ground: Master Class programme, a week long intensive with leading international artists sharing their expertise with a small group of emerging artists from around the country. Led by artist Doug Fishbone, this year's artists are: Alexandre da Cunha, Janice Kerbel, Haroon Mirza and Amie Siegel. Each of the artists, in addition to working with the emerging artists, will present a free evening lecture to the public about their work.