In his sculptural works Alexandre da Cunha often incorporates found objects which could be considered ordinary and unspectacular. While speculating on modernist ideas of form and composition in his work, the artist also draws on the creative ingenuity and resourcefulness demonstrated in countries like his native Brazil where household products are often recycled and re-used to overcome the sparseness of new materials. By decontextualising these products and reshaping them through a modernist language to make his sculptures and collages, da Cunha triggers new readings of the original objects.
In the series Terracotta Ebony (2006), da Cunha playfully assembles the heads of sink plungers to create abstract geometric sculptures. The title, coupled with the sculptures' refined forms could almost fool the unaware viewer into disregarding the original objects' menial past. Through this trickery, Terracotta Ebony highlights how our value judgements are still underpinned by concerns of monetary worth and sophisticated form.
A similar device is used in Seascape (Flags) (2008) where da Cunha considers how stereotypes can become indistinguishable from national identity. In this series of photographic works, he takes typical tourist-industry images of tropical beaches and cuts geometrical shapes into them, mimicking the graphic style of flags. By defacing these idyllic scenes, da Cunha questions the sometimes unrealistic representations of such places, while the solemnity of the flags is mocked by the popular imagery of tourism.
During the first two weeks of his residency, da Cunha will take part in a Triangle Workshop in Chongqing which will be a period of research and experimentation for the artist who is fascinated by the mass production of inexpensive objects in China.
Alexandre da Cunha was born in Rio de Janeiro and lives and works in London. Selected group exhibitions include: 2nd San Juan Triennial in Puerto Rico (2009); This is not a void, curated by Jens Hoffmann, Galeria Luisa Strina, Sao Paulo (2008/09); Procedente, MAP Museu de Arte da Pampulha, Belo Horizonte (2008); Passengers, CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco (2008). Solo exhibitions include: Laissez-Faire, Camden Arts Centre, London (2009); Vilma Gold, London (2008); Luisa Strina, Sao Paulo (2008); and Paco das Artes, Sao Paulo (2006).
Organhaus is an independent artist-run organisation in Chongqing. The organisation was established by Yang Shu, an artist and lecturer at the Sichuan Art Academy alongside a group of local artists. Since 2007, Organhaus has been run as a collaborative project between the independent spaces Organ and M-Haus Commune. It is dedicated to the exploration of experimental and multimedia art, to developing a varied exhibition programme to support these explorations, and to providing studio spaces for young artists.