Exploring the elements of light and reflection, Catalan artist Daniel Steegmann Mangrané has collaborated with Side Gallery to produce a series of blown glass chandeliers, tracing the boundary of nature and artifice. The intervention holds a powerful force of attraction: a moment of uncertainty between what is contrived and what is natural. In each of the artist´s intricate compositions, we are able to experience this concept, far from being distinct, the organic and the geometric, the necessary and the abstract, define each other.
"We are able to experience this concept, far from being distinct, the organic and the geometric, the necessary and the abstract, define each other"
Based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Mangrané's work encompasses different formats based on subtle and poetic experimentation that questions the relationship between language and the world. His creations illustrate a concern with existence and the specific characteristics of objects, at the same time activating abstract language to generate thought, while using the idea of unstable meaning and dematerialized constructions as a way of addressing questions concerning the “object”.
Daniel Steegmann Mangrané (b. 1977 Barcelona) is a Catalan artist living and working in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. His body of work encompasses different formats based on subtle and poetic experimentation that questions the relationship between language and the world. As a child, Mangrané aspired to be a biologist or botanist. His fascination with the natural sciences motivated his 2004 installation near the tropical forest in Rio Janeiro.
In the 1990s, Mangrané was drawn to the works of Hélio Oiticica and Lygia Clark, one of the founders of neo-concretism. Clark's work intended to unite the "participant" to work, forming an organic continuity. Her work was inspired by Merleau-Ponty, for whom "the world is made of the very fabric of the body".
He was similarly influenced by the collective group of artists working in the UK, who became known as the YBA's or Young British Artist. Following their trajectory, Mangrané's artwork, mainly conceptual, shows concern with existence and the specific characteristics of objects. He uses deconstructed materials as a means to question his work.
The artist said, "if there are no longer subjects or objects, there are no longer spectators or works of art, but processes of relations of mutual transformation. Combinations of agents that influence each other". His encounter with an insect twig in 2008 has been decisive and essential to his trajectory. This camouflaged creature, also called stick insect (from the Greek "ghost"), haunts several works by Steegmann Mangrané, filmed in plant settings or released in large glass vivariums. As its appearance is as motionless as a plant, this metic insect merges with its environment to the point of disappearing.
A further example of his confrontation with "objectness" was the work he presented at the New Museum's 2015 Triennial: Surround Audience. He exhibited Phantom (2015), a virtual reality environment scanned from the Brazilian Mata Atlántica rainforest and accessed through a pair of Oculus. He also created several pieces that explore the semiotic structure of the projection-lacking the narrative of a picture. The projections hover between drawings, abstract, structural cinema, and sculpture. Mangrané's works articulate a sense of space and time, building up a structure as the constellation of elements enters into action.
He has presented solo shows at CRAX Alsace in Altkrich, Mendes Wood DM in Sao Paulo, House France Brazil in Rio de Janeiro, Halfhouse in Barcelona, Centro Cultural Sergio Port in Rio de Janeiro, and Fundació La Caixa in Barcelona. He has also been featured in group exhibitions at the New Museum in New York, the Renaissance Society in Chicago, Experimental Museo El Eco in Mexico, among others.