Brazilian artist Alexandre da Cunha’s practice is predominantly based on ideas of the readymade, in which he re-appropriates existing items and found objects, revealing their inherent if overlooked form, beauty, and mystery, inviting audiences to see them with a new perspective.
Influenced by both systems of mass production 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 ideas to a monumental scale, with recent commissions of 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 will present Figurehead II. Totemic in shape and scale, the sculpture consists of four stacked chamber drainage rings, standing six metres tall, and placed within the circumference footprint of the compass upon the historic foyer floor.
The materiality of the structure and its skyscraper type stature makes a direct reference to the post-war buildings and reconstruction in Plymouth – and da Cunha’s birth city of São Paulo - of which concrete is a key component.
Image: Figurehead 2015 Installation view, MCA Chicago. Photo: Nathan Keay © MCA Chicago © Alexandre da Cunha. Courtesy the artist and Thomas Dane Gallery.