Alexandre da Cunha
b. 1969, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Lives and works in London, UK
Taking everyday objects and transforming them with simple rearrangements, da Cunha opens up reflection on their cultural and social connotations while engaging with the history of abstraction and minimalism. Urn II and Urn III (both 2013) are adapted concrete mixer drums, sandblasted and put upright, their bulbous sides deformed by the action that dictated and destroyed them. Velour Series (2005-2006), contains tourist beach towels in a variety of styles, each suggesting a different tribe of sun worshipper. Combined with curtain poles, mop handles and other found and adapted supports these are leant against the gallery walls, becoming flags at rest.
Following on from Arte Povera and his Latin American predecessors, da Cunha examines the position of his homeland, Brazil, in relation to the West. His series of ten flags consists of generic photos of idyllic beach scenes overlaid with abstract monochrome shapes and patterns. This produces a lexicon of symbols that distract the eye from the background imagery and recall the maritime flags used to identify a vessel's place of registration.