This exhibition brings together two bodies of work that have emerged from the artist’s growing interest in geology in the epoch of the Anthropocene: Grains, a series of photographic panels; and Metamorphing Maps, a set of marble wall sculptures. The exhibition is completed with two paintings from the series Systemic Grids.
The photographs in Grains document the drawings that occur on the sands of Praia Grande, a wild beach in upstate Rio de Janeiro.Over the past four years, Daniel Steegmann Mangrané has documented incredibly dynamic variations in the patterns that emerge as a function of the tides, the size of the waves, the slope of the beach, the wind, the size of the grains or the velocity of the waves that wash over the beach.
Steegmann Mangrané photographed these shifting drawings in such a way that the size of the photographic grain corresponds to the dimensions of the grains of sand on the negative, creating a correspondence between the sand’s surface and that of the negative, lending an abstract character to the images.
The marbles used to create Metamorphing Maps are metamorphic rocks. Geology differentiates three types of rock: magmatic,created by the high temperature melting of different materials;sedimentary, created by the accumulation of different sediments;and metamorphic, created by the literal transformation of one rock into another, mainly by tectonic movements and extremely highpressures. 200 million years ago, these marbles were algae and crustaceans, now the artist adds a new layer of transformation, converting the rock into sculpture, but perhaps 200 million years from now these rocks will return to being animals and plants: within the temporal arc of life of these rocks, the time they’ll spend as a sculpture will be a very short interval.
Similarly, the paintings Systemic Grids show complex geometric patterns produced from the same very simple geometric unit (a rectangle with a sectioned corner) that, shifting and rotating, creates patterns of such complexity that they seem to portray organic systems such as cellular tissue or rhizomatic patterns.
The works in the exhibition explore how form is created and how it behaves, not without a certain intelligence and intention, blurring the separations between living and non-living, accident and intention, or geometric and organic.
Self-emerging patterns occur in both living and inert things, and they can be observed in natural, social or economic phenomena. When we say that a wave of conservatism is taking over the world, or that an idea has crystallized, we are referring very roughly to an emerging pattern, but it is the pattern’s ability to replicate itself that reinforces its movement from within. Anthropologist Eduardo Kohn calls this process “form’s effortless efficacy”.