September 2019
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Daniel Steegmann Mangrané - A Leaf-Shaped Animal Draws The Hand

12 September 2019 00:00 - 19 Januar 2020 00:00

Pirelli HangarBicocca presents Daniel Steegmann Mangrané’s first solo exhibition in Italy, conceived to engage visitors in an artistic investigation on the theme of ecological complexity and on the dialectic between man and nature.

Daniel Steegmann Mangrané (b. 1977, Barcelona; based in Rio de Janeiro since 2004) works with organic elements and technology and creates artworks through a variety of media—drawing, installation, photography, sculpture, film, video, holography and virtual reality—often tracing the boundary between nature and artifice, where the separation between subject and object disappears and the collective experience is radically transformed. The artist places the sensory dimension of the viewer at the heart of his exhibitions, evoking a vivid physical experience and exploring with his works the very act of exhibiting. At the same time, intrigued by the richly biodiverse Brazilian rainforest, Steegmann Mangrané offers a reflection on the fragility and the possible disappearance of this environment, directly involving the observer in an intimate encounter with a depiction of nature and its animal and vegetal components.

The exhibition, curated by Lucia Aspesi and Fiammetta Griccioli, presents more than 20 works produced since 1998, including one of his first pieces, Lichtzwang (1998–ongoing), a series of more than 200 geometrical and abstract watercolors that constitute a sort of generative process of all his production. The encounter between living and chaotic elements with linear and clear-cut shapes is often present in Steegmann Mangrané’s works, as in one of his most iconic pieces: the film Phasmides (2012) characterized by an organic and geometrical setting in which he explores the interconnection between the natural and artificial worlds through the observation of a phasmid, the entomological name for the stick insect. This creature becomes a recurring motif in his oeuvre, in holograms like Holograma 6 (Estrutura com bicho) (2013) or in A Transparent Leaf Instead of the Mouth (2016–17): Steegmann Mangrané conceived this last work as a glass environment in which local trees and shrubs cohabit with different species of exotic stick and leaf insects. A longstanding fascination for the artist, biology is a central subject in his work, resulting in imagery that creates a strong visual framework through the inclusion of branches, leaves, animals, and motifs of nets, weaves, meshes and grids.

The shift between material and immaterial experiences is expanded further in the exhibition at Pirelli HangarBicocca by Steegmann Mangrané’s intervention, Phantom Architecture (2019), made of white transparent fabric partitions that redefine the industrial quality of the exhibition space, whilst both concealing and revealing the exhibited works. Like fluctuating membranes, these screens give shape to the different areas of the show while allowing, by means of their transparency, an immediate overview of the entire exhibition. Their surfaces react to lighting conditions: shifting from a dense atmosphere to a more evanescent presence. Thus, the natural light enters the space through the windows on the ceiling and walls of the Shed, while during the evening artificial lighting projects a luminous choreography on the ceiling.

As evoked by the title of the exhibiton, A Leaf-Shaped Animal Draws The Hand, the artist creates a poetic paradox in which the animal and human worlds seem to merge through drawing, questioning pre-established orders and behaviors.

The artist
Some of the most relevant international institutions have hosted Steegmann Mangrané’s solo shows, including IAC – Institut d'art contemporain, Villeurbanne; Nottingham Contemporary, Nottingham (2019); CCS Bard College, New York; Fundació Antoni Tàpies, Barcelona; CAC, Vilnius (2018); Fundação de Serralves, Porto (2017); Museu de Arte Moderna, Rio de Janeiro; Casa Modernista, São Paulo (2015); CRAC Alsace Centre Rhénan d’Art Contemporain, Altkirch (2014). His works have also been presented in numerous group shows, including: Centre Pompidou-Metz, Metz; 14th Lyon Biennale (2017); 9th Berlin Biennale (2016); New Museum Triennial, New York; Kadist Art Foundation, Paris (2015); 30th São Paulo Biennale (2012). 

Public program
Thursday, September 26, 2019, 7pm – Lecture with Kaira M. Cabañas, Professor at the University of Florida
Thursday, November 21, 2019 – Multidisciplinary symposium with the participation of the artist together with anthropologists, philosophers, art historians and scientists
Wednesday, December 11, 2019 – Sound project with Arto Lindsay, curated by Pedro Rocha

Daniel Steegmann Mangrané - A Leaf-Shaped Animal Draws The Hand
Pirelli HangarBicocca
Via Chiese, 2
20126 Milan

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