Alexandre da Cunha, artist from Brazil. Photo © Mel Castro Duarte
1.Tell us what you do and your beginnings.
I am an artist who works mostly with sculpture, using found and industrialized objects and materials. More recently I realized that I had started being interested in art really early in my life.
My curiosity for different subjects in school for example had a lot in common aspects; which now – after years of practice- seemed to be the foundations of my work as an artist. In terms of process my work pretty much starts by a set of questions or a general sense of curiosity about an object and its surroundings.
2.What does your work aim to say?
My work aims to say something that sounds perhaps more like a question – or an invitation- rather than a statement. Usually it is a combination of familiar objects that pop to the viewer’s eyes offering different ways to engage with them, either through pure materiality or narratives triggered by their cultural use, for example.
It is becoming more clear to me that I don’t have full control of the direction of my practice. I see my work as a sort of partner with whom I have a very strong bond with. It surprises me, It confuses me, sometimes it bothers me a lot.
The work says lots of different things to me and that is why it is difficult to say what it aims to say in general. It is an ongoing process, I am learning together with the work what it is trying to say.
3.Where do you find inspiration for your art?
Pretty much anywhere, but mostly when I walk, travel or wander about. Domestic environments are a great source of inspiration too. In terms of historical references I often use a quite classical repertoire combined with things that come from other practices not necessarily associated with contemporary art.
4.Could you give us some insight into your creative process?
The work starts by me collecting objects or images of objects and then I engage with a more invested work in the studio, rendering those found elements, editing, selecting, separating parts of them. Another integral part of my practice often involves other people, makers and a good level of technical assistance.
Perhaps the most stimulating part of the process for me, is when the sculptures leave the studio and inhabit other spaces, that to me is when the work takes shape and tells me when they are ready.
5.What are your future projects?
I am developing a couple of new commissioned works and trying to focus on collaborations with other artists – projects that have been on hold for a while and have a more experimental nature.
I feel that is now (more than ever) the time to explore other possibilities and expand my practice to other dimensions. I have been tempted to challenge the system that I got used to working in the last decade and create new scenarios to develop my work.
Alexandre da Cunha on social networks: Instagram
Alexandre da Cunha (Rio de Janeiro, 1969) is a Brazilian artist who has made the readymade the focus of his artistic production, with which he somehow tells the viewer his origins and the stories with objects and materials that he finds especially during trips. Da Cunha is inspired by European modernist architecture and Op Art.
The artist has exhibited all over the world and his work is included in important private and institutional collections including Tate, England; ICA Boston, Boston MA and Inhotim, Brazil. Some of his sculptures are installed in public places in Boston, Miami and London and, among his solo exhibitions: Duologue with Phillip King, Royal Society of Sculptors, London, England (2018); Boom, Pivô, São Paulo, Brazil (2017); the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Chicago IL (2015) and Dublê, Centro Cultural São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil (2011).
Among the most recent solo shows: Arena, Thomas Dane Gallery (2020); Duplex, CCA Brighton (2021) and Sunset, Sunrise, Sunset, the permanent installation at Battersea Power Station commissioned by Art on the Underground, London (2021). Alexandre da Cunha lives and works between London and São Paulo.