Thomas Dane Gallery opens an exhibition of works by Alexandre da Cunha

The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Thursday, June 13, 2024

Thomas Dane Gallery opens an exhibition of works by Alexandre da Cunha
Installation view, Alexandre da Cunha: Arena, Thomas Dane Gallery, 29 September - 12 December, 2020. Alexandre da Cunha. Courtesy the artist and Thomas Dane Gallery. Photo: Maurizio Esposito.

by Jenni Lomax

NAPLES.- For centuries, Italian sculptors have practised the art of rendering the gentle folds and sensual drapery of cloth into hard marble. To conjure an impression of both a vital presence and the softness of the fabric covering it, using only one material, requires enormous skill. In Naples, a famed example of such mastery can be found within the Cappella Sansevero. Carved from a single block of marble, Giuseppe Sanmartino’s Veiled Christ depicts the dead body of Jesus shrouded in a twisting flow of cloth; its contradictions of stillness and movement, lightness and weight, imbues the sculpture with humanity and a sense of compassion.

The sculptural properties of Alexandre da Cunha’s work, Marble (2020), are difficult to determine—certainly on first sight. What appears to be a solid and weighty, fleshy-pink form is in fact an inflatable rubber ring covered by a large cotton sheet. The air-filled object offers a determined resistance to the soft fluidity of the fabric, causing it to drape onto the floor in a manner that suggests gravity and stability. Being an improbable assemblage of mundane things, Marble is in almost every way a contradiction of Sanmartino’s sculpture. However, on its own terms, it maintains a strong bodily presence that equally possesses humour and pathos.

Always observant of the materiality of objects and how they sit in the world, da Cunha carefully gathers and realigns them to form unexpected allegiances that, as with Marble, challenge perceptions of value and authority. When transported to an unfamiliar place, domestic, workaday objects and materials become themselves unfamiliar—maybe alien, maybe exotic—they also acquire an aesthetic beauty and new status. The original use and sociological meaning of these utilitarian items are never demeaned by their transformations, rather the changes reinstate the importance of society and the value of labour.

Made from an assortment of things—including paving slabs, bathroom floor tiles, discarded wheelbarrows, dyed cotton mopheads, household fabrics, coconuts—da Cunha’s sculptures occupy a progression of elegant rooms at Thomas Dane Gallery in Naples. There is incongruity in the very attendance of objects and materials like these in such a publicly inviting space; it is stuff that the rooms themselves might be built from, maintained by, decorated or cleaned with. By establishing sculptures that activate the floors, walls and ceilings of these particular spaces, da Cunha has created an arena that allows for conflict and subversion as well as for spectacle and delight.

Alexandre da Cunha (b.1969) is a Brazilian-born artist who lives and works in So Paulo and London. He has referred to his practice as ‘pointing’ as opposed to ‘making’. By ‘pointing’ at existing objects in plain sight, da Cunha highlights new and unexpected meanings within the objects he chooses. This approach allows him to disentangle preconceptions and instinctive responses inherent to particular objects, restoring them with alternative modes of viewing and understanding. Given their renewed possibility, da Cunha’s sculptures inspire lush potential, illuminating everyday encounters with these ordinary materials. For instance, household cleaning objects suddenly conjure spiritual significance, while seemingly mundane industrial ready-mades echo art historical precedents.

Central to da Cunha’s practice is the ready-made. Specifically, how the ready-made is affected by narrative, history, and the results of labour. In da Cunha’s work, an object’s original design and function endures within the sculpture: a mop can be transformed into a tapestry but the narrative of the object lives on in the work. In this way, da Cunha’s sculptures constitute a microcosm which preserves the historic and economic reality of the original object. In his Mix (2012-2017) and Full Catastrophe series (2012-2013), da Cunha presents concrete mixers only lightly touched by the artist but heavily manipulated by their previous owners, confusing the role of creator while aligning the activity of labour with that of the artist. In contrast, da Cunha’s Ikebana series (2018) assembles sensitive pairings of objects. A walking stick is accented by a fragment of food packaging; a hammer is domesticated by its foundation of a wooden block; while a cake tin, golf ball, or glass bottle respectively sink into a cast of concrete.

Today's News

October 8, 2020

Laisun Keane opens a solo exhibition of works by transdisciplinary artist Nicki Green

Artists have final victory in a case of destroyed graffiti

The Snite Museum of Art announces important acquisitions to its Mesoamerican collection

Seen Jurassic Park? T-Rex skeleton brings $31.8 million at Christie's

Replacement objects in "Good as Gold: Fashioning Senegalese Women" at the North Carolina Museum of Art

Brooklyn Museum unveils new Decorative Arts Galleries

Blood, passion and captivity: Gentileschi's life is in her paintings

Freeman's auction for the collection of Dr. Henry & Mrs. Fannie Levine achieves just under $1 million

Georgia museum makes major American folk art acquisition

Hindman breaks record for top lot sold at auction as results soar beyond pre-sale estimates

Bonhams promotes Jacqueline Towers-Perkins to Vice President, Director of Contemporary Art in New York

Boxed Machine Man sets new world auction record at $160,000

Sotheby's Hong Kong Jewellery Autumn sales total US$55 million

Orange County Museum of Art celebrates major building milestone "Topping Out"

Dallas Museum of Art names Paintings Conservation Center to honor conservator Inge-Lise Eckmann Lane

NGV announces more than 100 artists and designers for NGV Triennial 2020

Yinka Shonibare CBE announced for Government Art Collection commission

Renowned author and Holocaust survivor Ruth Klueger dies at 88

Philbrook Museum of Art opens groundbreaking exhibition of Native women artists

Johnny Nash, who sang 'I Can See Clearly Now', dies at 80

Steve McQueen opens London Film Festival with racially-charged drama

Thomas Dane Gallery opens an exhibition of works by Alexandre da Cunha

Collection of Beethoven bronzes by Antoine Bourdelle come to auction for first time

Yemen's mini-libraries: 'a candle in the dark'

How does a Wedding Singer Singapore help to uplift your wedding live band?

Top 5 things to do in Nepal

Art in the Hospitality Industry

Major benefits of escalators and their uses by La Grazia Escalators and Moving walks Company

Forthcoming Artistic Biennales Unmasking the Global Dilemmas

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
(1941 - 2019)
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez
Writer: Ofelia Zurbia Betancourt

Truck Accident Attorneys
Accident Attorneys

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. Hommage
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site Parroquia Natividad del Señor
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful