Daniel Steegmann Mangrané’s exhibition Una fulla al lloc de l’ull
(A Leaf Shapes the Eye) opens later this month at Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA). Curated by Hiuwai Chu and João Laia, the show includes works from the late 1990s to the present. Daniel’s practice hinges on the natural and the geometric, as if splicing together the unfathomable forests found in Brazil (where he lived for the last fifteen years) with the clear lines of abstraction and man-made order. His works
have incorporated chromatic watercolour studies, kaleidoscopic collages, photography, sculptures with etched leaves and citrus fruit, as well as film and sound projects that conjure a kind of organic cinema.
In January 2020, Daniel and Catalina Lozano explored Rio de Janeiro for the tenth episode of ‘Incidents (of Travel)’
, a Kadist-produced, Latitudes-curated online project
. His tour was designed to “stroll around the natural wonders of the city, its colonial past, imperial Brazil … and end on the beach.”
This month’s Cover Story looks back to 2015, when Latitudes curated Compositions
a series of five city-wide site-specific interventions on the occasion of the first Barcelona Gallery Weekend
. Daniel presented a new version of Surucuá, Teque-teque, Arara
(2012) amongst the subtropical plants of the Umbracle (Shade House) in Barcelona’s Parc de la Ciutadella. The work
was an acoustic installation formed by eight audio tracks that were recorded simultaneously along a 60 metre transect through a remnant section of the Mata Atlântica, the Atlantic Rainforest of Brazil. Such dense tropical forest would have been the first habitat Portuguese colonists encountered on their arrival in the year 1500. It is an ecosystem known for its extraordinary biological richness and high degree of endemism, meaning many species exist nowhere else.
In Barcelona, an eleven-minute loop of the sounds of the forest, including the disembodied calls of colourful birds such as the Surucua trogon, the Yellow-lored tody-flycatcher, and macaws (species whose Portuguese names lend the work its title) merged with the ambient sounds of the city park. As if a 1:1 scale collage, the artifice of the urban botanical collection became magically intertwined with an acoustic slice of the authentically wild.