Alexandre da Cunha: Free Fall at Thomas Dane Gallery
Alexandre da Cunha describes his work not as making but as pointing, and this is something that quickly becomes apparent in the abstract pieces he presents at Thomas Dane Gallery. With some, it is automatically understood what they are and how they have been used in a new form, but some others are positioned and assembled in a way that does not have a specific representation, more an ability to be multiple things.
There are four large-scale pieces in this collection, entitled Free Fall. It’s an interesting and perhaps contrasting epithet for the the more solid concrete pieces, and encourages the viewer to interpret them in a new way.
On entering the space, there is a large concrete slab whose imposing and awkward assembly presses the observer against the walls of the gallery in order to view all aspects of it. Continuing with previous experiments using “large-scale concrete civic sewer pipes”, this piece is almost unfinished and distorted, making its material initially unidentifiable. “Free fall” here could allude to the ability to shift the meaning and depiction of something so solid and bulky – something that in fact ends up physically guiding the route around the gallery.
The second piece is a large, geometrically segmented parachute draped over flagpoles, something generally designed to prevent a free fall, here thwarting its intended purpose. This distortion of the very function of the object turns upon its head the concept of falling, from something negative to something that opens up limitless possibilities. The emphasis is on the free, the openness to interpretation and how something is perceived and used.
Using seashells and a fabric covering, de Cunha creates the sense of something trying to escape from of the walls, and the seemingly rigid structure of the final piece gives a sense of how order creates potential for openness. It initially feels at odds with the other pieces, yet ultimately all seem to be directing towards something open and unending.
Alexandre da Cunha: Free Fall is on at the Thomas Dane Gallery from 21st January until 5th March, for further information visit here.