Daniel Steegmann Mangrané at Esther Schipper, Berlin

Press release:

Esther Schipper is pleased to present Daniel Steegmann Mangrané’s second solo exhibition with the gallery. Entitled Fog Dog, the exhibition includes architectural light interventions, a sound installation and a new film.

Daniel Steegmann Mangrané’s (b. 1977, Barcelona) practice encompasses a wide range of media, including film, sculpture, sound, gardens and drawing. His work focuses on the creation and migration of forms between different formal registers in nature, art and architecture. The artist is particularly interested in forms that, while appearing familiar, cannot be related to any specific references, be it in nature or culture.

Using self-imposed systems, the artist creates works that undermine the boundaries between organic and man-made aesthetics and materials, as well as between chance and rule-based principles of composition. Consequently, his works often appear both sparse and sensual.

“I am always seeking the moment where the visitor no longer observes the work but rather his or her own experience; the moment where they observe themselves.”

— Daniel Steegmann Mangrané

For his exhibition at Esther Schipper, a two-part light intervention greets the visitor upon entering the room. Lit entirely by natural light, angled dividing walls transform the space into a series of connecting rooms.

A large triangular opening in the ceiling and a head-high funnel-shaped construction narrowing toward an aperture fundamentally alter the experience of the space, controlling and shaping the entering light.

The experience of the room, which should be lit entirely by natural light, is fundamentally altered by the juxtaposition of these two elements.

The light entering the space through the ceiling opening changes according to the time of the day, yet also retains the geometric shape.

Daniel Steegmann Mangrané has covered the floor of the gallery with gravel and buried speakers underneath.

The speakers, invisible to the spectator, occasionally emit the sounds of animal and human movement from different directions, startling the visitor and creating the impression of being surrounded, perhaps hunted, by unseen occupants. 

A second rectangular construction in the back of the gallery opens into an adjoining room, funnelling the light to create a diffuse brightness, apparition-like.

The light intervention is created by a rectangular construction built out from the wall with a rectangular opening at its apex.

Funnelling the light to create a diffuse brightness, the effect can be quite startling, as the illumination emanating from the opening, made diffuse by a filter, can nonetheless be quite focused.

In the largest semi-enclosed room created by the divisions of the space, Steegmann Mangrané’s new film, Fog Dog, is screened.

Premiered in early February at the Dhaka Art Summit 2020, Fog Dog is the artist’s first foray into cinematic storytelling.

It takes as point of departure the inhabitants of the Institute of Fine Arts of Dhaka, documenting the daily life of the school and the numerous stray dogs that live there and seem to lead a parallel existence.

Designed by architect and pioneer of Bangladeshi modernism Muzharul Islam (1923-2012) and characterized by an open structure—open colonnades, free-standing staircases, ceramic jalousies, and wooden screens allow for an interweaving of interior and exterior—the building is both stage and protagonist of the film.

Boundaries between inside and outside, building and surrounding gardens, institutional and public spaces seem fluid.

The ambient noises of the tropical landscape and the urban environment mingle, creating a richly evocative sonic landscape.

Taken during the shooting of Fog Dog, Steegmann Mangrané’s photographs share the atmospheric aspect of the film.

Some have little details, like a butterfly on the dusty bamboo sphere hanging in the dark hallway, others focus on the iconic silhouettes of the stray dogs, as sphinx in unlikely setting with bit-off ear, or depict an aspect of nature, such as the canopy of trees or the reflection of the small pond shining through the thicket of leaves.

Artist: Daniel Steegmann Mangrané

Venue: Esther Schipper, Berlin

Exhibition title: Fog Dog

Date: March 12 – April 11, 2020

Photography: Andrea Rossetti.

Text/Press release and images provided by the event.

 © Esther Schipper, Berlin, Germany E.U.