Alexandre da Cunha: Figurehead II

Alexandre da Cunha: Figurehead II

Brazilian artist Alexandre da Cunha’s practice is predominantly based around the “readymade”, whereby he appropriates and subtly changes found objects, revealing their inherent if overlooked form, beauty, and mystery, inviting audiences to see often quite mundane items from our day-to-day surroundings with a new perspective.

Influenced by systems of mass production, the building industry and artisan craftsmanship, the sculptures he creates, through the act of re-purposing, appear to be a mix between popular consumer object and archaeological relic. Da Cunha has taken these humble ideas to a monumental scale, with recent commissions for public site-specific works in Chicago, London, and São Paulo as well as other large outdoor works in US, Europe and South America.

For North Hall, da Cunha presented Figurehead II; Totemic in shape and scale, the sculpture, which was specially commissioned by The Box, consisted of four stacked chamber drainage rings, standing six metres tall, and placed within the circumference of the compass upon the historic foyer floor. The material of the structure and its skyscraper type stature made a direct reference to both the post-war buildings and reconstruction in Plymouth – and the architecture of da Cunha’s birth city Rio de Janeiro, where concrete is a key component.

Affairs by Alexandre da Cunha on display at The Box, Plymouth

In addition to Figurehead II, da Cunha exhibited a series of smaller Table Works on the first floor of The Box. These playful sculptures were presented amongst objects and artefacts that he chosn from The Box's collections, creating a dialogue that explored domestic and leisure activity.

Da Cunha displayed his series Affairs on the first floor of The Box too. This collection of beach towels bearing national flags and consumer insignia, explored his interest in stereotypes propagated under the guise of national identity. The ensign like towels resonated with The Box's flotilla of Royal Naval figureheads and ship’s badges as well as Plymouth’s oceanic history and location, probing ideas of occupation, boundaries and territory.

With the kind support of Thomas Dane Gallery.