Alexandre da Cunha

Alexandre da Cunha Exhibited at The Saatchi Gallery

Alexandre da Cunha
Nude II


Linen, hats, gold thread

200 x 135 x 15 cm

Alexandre da Cunha is not the typical maker, despite the fact he operates within a sculptural field of overtly modernist tendencies. The artist intervenes into the everyday, displacing specific objects and entering them into an exhibitory realm, reorienting them as artworks. The nature of this appropriative act creates a space in which objects oscillate between strange tensions, bringing the paradoxes of contemporary art into plain sight. In da Cunha’s exploratory practice, a traditional method of figurative sculpture making is confused with found objects. His inventions emerge from a cross reading of Brazil’s neo-concrete movement and the contradictions of modernist architectural cities like Rio de Janeiro. The precariousness of urban design, which is rooted in the necessity of re-purposing found materials, is met by the minimal aesthetics of ubiquitous mass-produced objects.

Alexandre da Cunha
Nude VI


Hats, canvas, thread

220 x 300 x 17.5 cm

Da Cunha’s introverted form of artistic practice is centred on a negotiation with techniques of materiality. It often involves a close observation of the object, as it reoccurs within the conceptual canon, but with a direct intention of transgressing and indeed challenging this inevitable historical quotation. The treatments which Cunha’s objects forgo are related to the spatial architectures of the Brazilian modernist environments he grew up in, where form is manipulated to envelope and isolate the human body. By this logic, da Cunha relates studio practice to home cleaning, both as environments in which the body becomes an agent for the clearing of space, making way for a blank slate. Domestic symbols and the products of manufacturing and leisure industries are rid of their hierarchical functions acting simultaneously as objects, artworks and artefacts.

Alexandre da Cunha


Gloss paint on rubber tyre

40 x 55 cm, plinth; 80 x 60 x 60 cm

Humour, the final and perhaps most important component of da Cunha’s practice, is rooted in certain ambivalence towards the conditions of the modern object. Even when the artist is working on canvas (Nude, 2012), a series of large brown circles emerging across the surface give way to a certain threedimensional quality. Viewed from an angle, the protruding peeks of the rounded sunhats begin to suggest the physicality of human nipples, exposing the surreal dimension of da Cunha’s metaphoric language. A worn out car tire repurposed as a flower pot, framed depictions of popular icons from Brazilian culture, and a seemingly abstract painting made from deck chairs and rugs, form the corpus of Cunha’s incessant dichotomising of singular objects. The subtle monumentality of the work may be imbedded in minimal strategies of mid-century modernism; but there is always more than meets the eye alone. As ready-mades cast in a tropical irony, such acts are demonstrative of how any use of an object is an appropriative act.

Alexandre da Cunha


Gloss paint on rubber tyre

40 x 45 cm, plinth; 55 x 55 x 55 cm
Alexandre da Cunha


Gloss paint on rubber tyre

40 x 55 cm, plinth; 80 x 55 cm

© Osei Bonsu, 2014

Alexandre da Cunha's Biography

Alexandre da Cunha
Born in 1969, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Lives and works in London, UK


Alexandre da Cunha, Curated by Zoe Gray, Le Grand Café Centre d’Art Contemporain, Saint-Nazaire
Full Catastrophe, Thomas Dane Gallery, London
Kentucky Pied de Poule, CRG Gallery, New York

Duble, Centro Cultural Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo
Monolith, Sommer & Kohl, Berlin
Fair Trade, Galeria Luisa Strina, Sao Paulo

Laissez Faire, Camden Arts Centre, London

Vilma Gold, London
Galeria Luisa Strina, Sao Paulo
Club Sandwich, Sommer & Kohl, Berlin

Passengers, CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco
Alexandre da Cunha – Damien Roach, NAK, Aachen

Paco das Artes, Sao Paulo (cat)

Alexandre da Cunha, Museu de Arte da Pampulha, Belo
Colorama, Vilma Gold, London

Carro Novo, Galeria Luisa Strina, Sao Paulo

Alexandre da Cunha & Brian Griffiths, Galeria Luisa Strina, Sao
Paulo (cat)

Alexandre da Cunha, Projeto Macunaima Funarte, Rio de


The Imminence of Poetics, 30th Sao Paulo Biennial, Sao Paulo
Neil Campbell – Alexandre da Cunha, Office Baroque Gallery, Antwerp
British Modern Remade, Arts Council Collection, Park Hill Estate, Sheffield
Garden of Reason, curated by Tessa Fitzjohn, Ham House, London
Economy of means: toward humility in contemporary sculpture, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, Scottsdale, Arizona

Making Is Thinking, Witte De With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam
The Extension, Vilma Gold, London
Group Show: Sculpture, CRG Gallery, New York
Into the Green, Frankendael Foundation, Amsterdam
As ruas e as bobagens, ItaĂş Cultural, SĂŁo Paulo
Myhtologies, Cité des Arts, Paris
Nova Escultura Brasileira, Caixa Cultural, Rio de Janeiro
Vestigios de Brasilidade, Santander Cultural Recife, Recife
Government Art Collection selected by Cornelia Parker: Richard of York Gave Battle in Vain, Whitechapel Gallery, London

Inaugural Show, CRG, New York
First and Last, Notes on the Monument, Galeria Luisa Strina, Sao Paulo
Billdertausch 2: A New Presentation of the Marli Hoppe-Ritter Collection, Museum Ritter, Waldenbuch, Germany
Panamerica, Kurimanzuto Gallery, Mexico City
The Big Ripoff, Camden Art Centre, London
A Very Very Long Cat, Wallspace, New York
Los Impoliticos, Curated by Laura Bardier, Palazzo delle Arti Napoli, Naples

Chambres a part III, La Reserve, Paris, curated by Laurence Dreyfus
2nd San Juan Triennial in Puerto Rico,
Revolution of the Ordinary, Museum Morsbroich, Leverkusen
Pete and Repeat: Works from the Zabludovic Collectioon, 176, London
Sniper, Galerie Biedermann, Munich
Los Impoliticos, PAN, Palazzo delle Arti Napoli, Naples
IV Bienal de Jafre, Girona

Procedente, MAP Museu de Arte da Pampulha, Belo Horizonte
Inhotim new acquisitions, Inhotim Centro de arte contemporanea, Brazil
Transformational Grammars, Galeria Francesca Kaufmann, Milan
This is not a void, curated by jens Hoffmann, Galeria Luisa Strina, Sao Paulo
The Gentle Art of Cllapsing the Expanded Field, Cardenas Bellanger, Paris
Chambres à part II - FIAC 2008, La Réserve – Paris, Paris
De perto e de Longe – Paralela, curated by Rodrigo Moura, Liceu de Artes, Sao Paulo
Arte Nova, curated by Paulo Venancio Filho, CCBB Rio de Janeiro. An Unruly History of the Readymade, Ecatepac de Morelos, Estado de Mexico
Pendre la Cremaillere, Sommer and Kohl, Berlin
Group show curated by Chris Sharp Cardenas Bellanger, Paris
Group show curated by Avo Samuellian, Andre Schlechtriem, New York

Fortunate Objects, CIFO, Miami
Eurovision - Jahresgaben 2007, NAK, Aachen, Germany
Close to me, Studio Guenzani, Milan
Bildertausch 2, Museum Ritter, Waldenbuch
CTRL_C + CTRL_V, Sesc Pompeia, Sao Paulo
Passengers, CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco

Around the World in Eighty Days, ICA/South London Gallery, London (cat)
Wrong, Klosterfelde Gallery, Berlin
Contrabando, Galeria Luisa Strina, Sao Paulo
Geracao da Virada, Instituto Tomie Otake, Sao Paulo
Paralela, Pavilhao Armando de Arruda Pereira, Parque do Ibirapuera, Sao Paulo

Prague Biennale 2, Prague

Dionysiac, Pompidou Center, Paris, France

Fragmentos e Souvenirs Paulistanos Vol. 1, Galeria Luisa
Strina, Sao Paulo
Paralela, Sao Paulo
Imagine Limerick, EV+A 2004, Limerick
Produciendo Realidad, Prometeo Associazione Culturale, Lucca
Sneeze Project 80 x 80, Gazon Rouge Gallery, Athens

50th Venice Biennale, The Structure of Survival, Venice
The Virgin Show, The Wrong Gallery, New York
The Lost Collection of An Invisible Man, The Laing Art Gallery,
PoT, Galeria Fortes Vilaca, Sao Paulo

Liverpool Biennial, Liverpool
Materia Prima, Novo Museu, Curitiba

Brighton Icons, St Batholomew Church, Brighton
Desenhistas e Coloristas, Galeria Luisa Strina, Sao Paulo
13 Videobrasil, Sesc SP, Sao Paulo
Arco das Rosas, Casa das Rosas, Sao Paulo

PICAF, Pusan International Contemporary Art Festival, Pusan
EV+A Biennial (Friends and Neighbors), Limerick City Art
Gallery Limerick

Herancas Contemporaneas, Museu de Arte Contemporanea de Sao Paulo

Projecto Macunima, Rio de Janeiro

Suspended Instants, Art in General Gallery, New York
European Media Art Festival Osnabruck, Germany