On the occasion of the Gallery Weekend Berlin Sommer & Kohl are happy to present the second solo exhibition of new works by Alexandre da Cunha (*1969, Rio de Janeiro).
In his work, Alexandre da Cunha takes familiar and everyday materials and transforms them into art objects: beach towels, shoe horns, mop heads, toilet plungers, foam or car tires are converted by means of cement, copper piping or tape. An important aspect in the working process is the “economy of gestures” in the intervention on a given object – a strategy important to much of Brazilian art. The resulting elegant sculptural forms reveal a simple beauty rarely attributed to the lowly, mass-produced materials.
Among the works produced for this exhibition are a large parasol sculpture, a curtain made from mop heads and a new photographic series.
Alexandre da Cunha plays with the classical repertoire of sculptural representation and refers to the language of public art. At first sight, the works are read as such. When it becomes evident which materials are used, the idea of “classical” sculpture is immediately undone, the works become vulnerable and at the same time they become funny, weird, and therefore relevant as art objects.
Through the process of appropriating, re-combining and refining found objects, the materials are deprived of their original function and transferred into a new context. This raises questions about their value and intention. In many cases, Alexandre da Cunha’s sculptures allude to specific styles or movements within the established history of Western art (such as Modernism or Minimalism), promoting, with (self)-critical humor, a short-circuiting of hierarchies. His works offer a more universal discourse, in which the reference is not the end of the line, but rather a bridge to other readings.
Alexandre da Cunha’s work is currently on view in the exhibition Making is Thinking, Witte de With, Rotterdam (NL) until 1 May 2011. His solo exhibition at CCSP (Centro Cultural Sao Paulo) will run until 12 June 2011. Recent exhibitions include Camden Art Centre, London (UK), CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco (US), Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil, Rio de Janeiro (BR), Museu de Arte da Pampulha, Belo Horizonte (BR) and the Venice Biennale, Venice (IT).