In his first exhibition Arena, Brazilian born and London based artist Alexandre da Cunha chose to display aspects of his observations of how objects sit in the world
In da Cunha’s new exhibition Arena the relationship between rooms in the gallery will be highlighted, shifting perspectives of wall, floor and ceiling.
His previous show Laissez-faire, displayed in 2009 at the Camden Art Center, placed an emphasis on the artist’s sensitivity to material and was thereby embellished by Jenni Lomax’s approach of space and installation – Doorways in the Gallery were kept close to arrange motion through the space – uniformity reinforcing ‘the arena’ as the enclosed site of activity or conflict.
Jenni Lomax was Director of Camden Art Centre, London, from 1990 to 2017, where she established a forward-thinking programme of international exhibitions, residencies and education projects. In da Cunha’s floor works series Quilt (Sahara) from 2011, leather is weaved between paving slabs, while for Kentucky (Napoli) from 2020, dyed cotton mop heads were constructed to form a hanging textile that appends diagonally from the gallery ceiling.
The artist re-evaluates the beauty and message of objects – concrete mixers are displayed for their aesthetic qualities while re-establishing their social economies of labour in which these objects circulate. Elsewhere, wheelbarrows and metal benches are rectified as lighting arrangements, activating both floor and wall. Objects are readdressed to overcome material recessions and to articulate an impression of ambivalence, seducing the subtext of sensation to the foreground by undoing conventions.
The works in Arena – da Cunha’s first exhibition at Thomas Dane Gallery in Naples – possess conformity in their hybridity, tributing the artist’s ambition to rewrite form without receding their connotations and meaning. «The exposure and endurance of his handling of material generates a more sympathetic reading of the readymade, one that warms to the reality of objects and the communities or individuals who used them».
Through conversation with Jenni Lomax, the relationship of progression between rooms in the gallery are being discussed. Alexandre da Cunha questions the value systems of objects through the arrangement of materials and things. It is the hierarchies of concentration and perception he reconsiders, scrutinising the interfusion of play, shape and colour.
The exhibition will be on from September 29th to December 12thView the gallery