Quilt (Ivory), 2011. Photo: Edouard Fraipont

It's all very ironic and playful, but serious. Alexandre da Cunha only promotes the change of status of any object to discuss the human condition and its consequences. It is worth remembering that the mundane and the popular have always been at the root of the work of this artist from Rio de Janeiro, who passed through São Paulo and left Fundação Armando Alvares Penteado to study at the Royal College of Art, in London, where he settled. And it is exactly like that, based on the appropriation of (re)destined everyday objects, the exhibition Fair trade, which is on display at Galeria Luisa Strina, in São Paulo: there are many questions that the artist debates with a “simple” series of embroideries made by the gallery owner herself over a good couple of years.

First, the expression that gives the exhibition its title means “fair trade”. It is stamped on stamps from developed countries to designate products purchased from emerging countries at sustainable prices, and to try to correct the recurrent exploitation of international trade. Reflection is launched. As if that were not enough, by inviting the collaboration of an entrepreneur, he also had the intention of generating some confusion between the various roles by merging two worlds that, in principle, do not mix: that of the life of uncommitted manual work and that of the inserted woman. professionally in a global market. There is yet another aspect: one that incorporates and reflects on the feminine in artistic work, making references to figures such as Mira Schendel, Eva Hesse and Louise Bourgeois, with their fabric works. In contrast, but within the artisanal spirit, in the same show are concrete sculptures, which are made of industrial pieces, but manually arranged, one on top of the other, on the floor, in the form of rigid structures, in contrast to the softness of other materials. involved in the work.

In fact, Alexandre da Cunha has used everything in his works. Not long ago, he used concrete shackles to refer to the world of monuments; to dish towels, he added logos of famous brands to play with the idea of ​​public and private. Finally, the objects he uses are relocated to their original destination to raise the questions that interest him. These creative experiments are already known all over the world – from London, where he lives, to Germany, and also Venice, where he participated in the 50th Bienal.

* Ana Candida Vespucci
 is a cultural journalist and writing assistant for the magazine Nossa América, Memorial da América Latina

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