By Rakel Yamanaka
The exhibition of Marco Maggi at Tomie Othake institute in São Paulo is another great example of Latin American artists, such as this Uruguayan from Montevideo, currently based in New York.
Internationally recognised, his artworks are part of private and public collections, including MoMA, Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and the Daros Collection in Zurich, Switzerland, among others.
The minimalism and elegance present in his work is remarkable, and the exhibition Disinformation Functional Drawings in Portuguese is no different. Consisting of 12 works from 2008 and 2012, the installations are always astonishing and intriguing at the same time. Do not be misled by the word “drawings” as nothing seems to be one dimensional; they are much more than a piece of paper.
The body of work reveals unusual ways of creating a drawing with the use of different materials such as hundreds of A4 sheets piled and framed in acrylic boxes, pencil on tiles made of clay or graphite on a sheet of graphite, among many other strategies and materials to allow us to see a drawing in an unexpected way. His ability with a box cutter transforms common paper into tridimensional geometrical shapes, with incisions and engraving so precise they look like laser cuts.
Incubator, 2012 is the central installation of this exhibition. More than 350,000 sheets of A4 paper in piles of 500 are disposed of on the floor, creating a trail to nowhere. The first sheet of each pile – only in primary colours: yellow, red and blue and also white are used – has a small incision so delicate and subtle that it bears a resemblance to Kirigami, the traditional Japanese art of cutting paper.
Another highlight is Global Myopia (Parking Mirror), 2010, which consists of multiple incisions on a convex mirror, exactly like one of those in parking lots. The result is a fascinating engraved surface, which looks like a city map with all its streets and little buildings, depicted as if seen from an airplane.
The obsession of the artist to surfaces of all sizes, shapes and materials make the visitor automatically bend in front of the pieces and start analysing the details, eventually leaving the room with a feeling of astonishment.