Courtesy of Alexandre da Cunha
May 30, 2020

A Room with a View: Alexandre da Cunha and Richard Wentworth on their isolation experience

"A Room with a View" is a new editorial initiative which aims to illuminate the positive and creative potential of time spent in isolation. The seventeenth contribution comes from Brazilian artist Alexandre da Cunha and British artist Richard Wentworth
Words by Richard Wentworth
Images by Alexandre da Cunha

This collaborative contribution brings together Alexandre da Cunha’s faces and masks from kitchen materials and food and an email he received  from artist Richard Wentworth CBE.


e- mail from Richard Wentworth on 23 April 2020


…I have been thinking about mass psychosis, though not something I think I have the experience to write about – nothing more than being obliged to live even more in my head now and a past of the normalised sets of collective experiences- concerts, reactions to news events, terrorisms to tsunamis.

I have new fall-back habits, rekindling the fire every morning, keeping up with the sticks and log supply. 

Live heat source to resist dead screen source? 

Heat and light.

Elisions and fusions, laminates and telescopics really get to me, on a daily basis, seldom knowing which day is which unless I try hard or focus on ‘duties’, upcoming birthdays etc..

Dissolving, melting.

My strongest compulsion is making an idle record of people’s living circumstances, staged in any sense, from ‘rich’ to ‘banal’ – all shades. Bearing false witness. The private collapsing into the public.
Classes, classification, conformity and performance.

When we address people, we face the ‘front’.

Like 1960s black and white Top of the Pops, I am in love with new voices and those select few presentational confiders. The ones who imply bona fide confidence. 

The last big public thing I did was the Warhol opening at Tate Modern. What I am writing in my own ‘here and now’ is suffused with gaze and real time TV gazing.

Add the easy philatelic sequencing which framing gives. 

I have photographed broadcast television for half a dozen years, an idle hit and miss sport. Now it is much more slowly edited/cut. Like living pictorialized Catholic gravestones, those briefly captioned talking heads. The status of any speaker is alarmingly brief, as the names and titles are the so swiftly erased.

Fugitive identities.

Two days ago a chance phone call swept me back to pre-dead Franco, pre-wallcomingdown rural Spain …think tractors in the streets of small towns) in 1974/5.
Rus in urbe.

A sequence of a wonderfully stagey Barcelona concierge on Channel 4 News last eve with exceptionally fine subtitles was one of the most histrionic news pieces I have ever witnessed.

A play. Danse macabre. The news.

By complete coincity*, my wife had found a DVD that evening of Almodóvar’s Mala Educación which we then watched together.

My ‘snaps’ of the Barcelona virus elide perfectly with the pictures I took of the film. Almodóvar’s over the shoulder memorialising of 70s and 80s Spain laminated spontaneously to the evening’s news.

Con fusing.


Adhesively yours,


*a term invented by our granddaughter, aged 4


Alexandre da Cunha’s work will be on view within the solo show “Arena” opening on 26 September 2020 at Thomas Dane Gallery, Naples.
Courtesy of Alexandre da Cunha
Courtesy of Alexandre da Cunha
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