Marco Maggi (New York, USA) interview with Becky Hunter (Durham, UK) via email between November 08 and February 09.
Working in both small scale drawing/etching and in room-sized paper installations, Marco Maggi’s work has been said to evoke an architectural spectrum of sources, from El Lissitzky to Zaha Hadid. Featured in the publication Vitamin D: New Perspectives in Drawing, and in collections including that of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, Maggi has exhibited extensively across North and South America, Europe and Asia.
BH: "Maggi is not about walking on or picking up, but crouching down and looking at." I found this quote about you from a 2003 Hosfelt Gallery press release. It caught my eye because it described the way images of your work affect me, drawing me down and in to explore detail, yet it is describing a large scale paper installation, not something shy or tiny. Is this your intention for the work, to draw people into quite an intimate viewing relationship?
MM: Scale changes the relationship between the viewer and the work. This reduction of scale intends to humanize the visual arts. Fast viewers see, from far away, a drawing as a blank sheet. Slow viewers can read the same drawing ten times, switching perspectives and conclusions. My main issue is protocol; my main focus is not the object or subject. I focus on the space in between the object and the viewer. I am interested in the particular protocol of manners and pace in the viewing process. [Click on this link to see a letter-size paper carpet and people walking very slowly on the piece, ‘Snow Walking Protocol’] To watch theater, a movie or video, or to hear a symphony, you need to spend a specific amount of time with the work. For example, a three minutes fifteen seconds song requires three minutes and fifteen seconds of your time. Reading a book is more flexible, but it is not completely flexible, because it is impossible to read a novel in sixteen seconds, which is the average amount of time spent by the public looking at a work of art in a museum. Drawings are not so much related to space as they are related to time: no time frame is included in ‘drawing protocol’... the viewer is therefore free and the challenge is to expand the freedom range from 16 seconds to 16 minutes or 16 hours.
BH: I wondered if that description I quoted is still relevant now or if your approach has changed in the past five years?
MM: My recent show at the Sicardi Gallery is entitled ‘Slow Politics’. ‘Slow Politics’ was also the title of the text written by Adriano Pedrosa for my September show at Nara Roesler (‘HypoReal’, San Paulo). So, yes I am still promoting pauses.
BH: I'd now like to quote something that you have written that seems fitting here. "We all feel a bit offside at the start of the 21st century, the only hope available to us is unambitious and slow: hypo-hope." Do you think slowness (in artmaking or in life) is undervalued now?
MM: I really love MHz and computers. They save so much time: saved time that allows us to go slowly. Computers deal with long distance very well; we need to take better care of the short distances. Images and sound travel on the internet; we need to take care of tactility, smell and taste. Computers work with zeros and ones; we need to focus on the hand’s ten digits. Nothing is more digital than a hand. I love the digital era in both interpretations of the word: ‘hand’ and ‘binary’. We are ‘bit-niks’ and not reactionary or nostalgic. I wouldn’t say that slowness is undervalued, as slowness is a great opportunity made possible by the fantastic speed of computers. If I have speed and long distance on my laptop, then it enables me to have slowness and short distance on my table top.
BH: You write beautifully, as though you are also taking time over phrases and that allows you a deep expression - I'm having to read slowly to take it in fully, which is a good thing. I watched the film on YouTube [link above] of your installation being constructed and demolished, it was very poetic, all the whiteness. And it did seem to slow people down a great deal, bending close to see, perhaps suspending the usual viewing protocol for something more careful and sustained. Is it your intention that the work is demolished by the audience, or are some parts of it preserved other than in film? Or is the demolition the final act of the piece?
MM: I have no precise intentions about tensions between people and the work, only expectations. I did very different versions of the same floor piece in diverse cities and venues - from Montevideo to Gwanju, from Los Angeles to Santiago de Chile or Bogota, from Madrid to San Paulo, from La Habana to Washington or San Juan de Puerto Rico, from Pontevedra to Kansas City – in biennials, galleries, museums there have been more than twenty examples. People’s reactions are always very similar, but the traces left behind after the exhibitions close are very different. The paper piece works like a slow photo-sedimentation of the show, in that there could be a very clean context and perfect conservation at the end, or a very aggressive environment with interventions by the viewing public, such as hair, coffee, written messages, lost objects, particles, etc. In some places the work survived like a collection piece (Daros Colection, LA MOCA); in others it was destroyed after the show (Buenos Aires Biennial). At the Hirshorn museum a child jumped on the piece; at San Paulo Biennial some top sheets (that are cut into with engraved marks) disappeared. In some cities I asked for a ‘non shoe’ sign; in others shoes were allowed. At Josee Bienvenu (my New York gallery) shoes were allowed and two friends added clean sheets of paper to erase shoe prints during the opening. The video on YouTube is a document: it is not a phase of the piece. I really love the response of the people documented, as they participated in constructing or demolishing the piece. Mutations start before the installation of the floor piece: the top sheets travel in a folder like a zip file to unzip on local paper reams.
BH: Why do you think drawing is not subject to the same time protocol as other works of art? Is it not seen as such a serious or complete art form? Is it more approachable or flexible?
MM: It was a ‘Drawing Inside’ era: drawing was working backstage, like art interface, or bone structure in paintings and sculptures Now, drawing emerges like the final tool to express precise confusions. Ninety percent of the actual description of the Universe is based in mathematical metaphors. Numbers are better than letters to describe abstract contexts. Drawing is the perfect media to document the triumph of micro uncertainties or the demolition of big messages. When words or landscapes are no longer capable of naming or showing systems, drawing becomes the protagonist. After the shock art of the early 1990s, the silences of drawing allow us to start again. Drawing can be slight like a text or even less; drawing carries the notion of being pre-text, coming before written language. Drawing is the perfect medium to emphasise or construct emptiness: a type of writing that erases.
BH: Can you remember the first object you paid close attention to and how that felt?
MM: It was a book and I was to young to know how to read it.
BH: So there's a thread in your work that sees drawing as unknown language, or standing in for an unknown language, that has the power to erase because of its unknowable quality, to act as a blanket over what has come before?
MM: To draw is very similar to writing slowly in a language that you cannot read: a text with no hope of being informative. It’s not a thread, it is training to stimulate our empathy for insignificance.
BH: I've been fascinated with ancient languages for a long time and have collected several books on the subject, and started to learn some of the basics. I felt there was some connection between being interested in art, particularly drawing, and being interested in the cut and carved marks of cuneiform script, for example. Would you agree that in both cases there is meaning to be uncovered? Or do you see mark-making in your work as only an erasure or slowing down, or can it refer to many possible meanings?
MM: Cut and carved marks of ancient cuneiform scripts are the most beautiful examples of new drawing. The genome alphabet is another example, and in a way, the genome is older than cuneiform! They are both examples of an illegible language: an abstract alphabet and syntax, grammatical tension. They are insignificant texts waiting for meaning (like a hook waits for a hat) in the sense that most of us cannot understand them, their interpretation is still being worked on. In the last four years I have been working around the word ‘cover’ and its sister words such as ‘coverage’. It’s interesting that the mass media use the word ‘cover’ to mean the opposite: to show something, they promise ‘complete coverage’. To link back to the idea of unknown languages, you could describe CNN coverage of the war or the elections as ‘cuneiform coverage’, covering up in the act of showing. My series title is ‘The Ted Turner Collection from CNN to DNA’. The coverage is so efficient that we cannot recognize the difference between live transmission and death. I wrote:‘We are familiar with the DNA structure but we cannot remember the genome's alphabet. I have only one question: is the inability to relate to this type of information blindness or should it be described as a new form of illiteracy? In both cases the most advisable thing to do is to patiently resign ourselves to the fact that we are doomed to knowing more and understanding less –victims of semiotic indigestions. The extreme percussion of news prevents any repercussion of the news. An overdose of drama is the perfect anaesthetic, a tool for censorship that is more efficient than a pair of scissors. We are setting up a society of dysfunctional information: reality becomes illegible; and the visual arts become invisible.’
BH: You often make the point that micro and macro have similar visual effects and also you compare ancient with up-to-date (preColumbian/postClintonian). Can you say anything further about this comparison of opposites? Are there political or geographical implications for you?
MM: The point of these pairs of opposites is the idea of unfocused information (in scale and time). Looking at the same drawing we can see different things: is this a bird’s eye view of the urban fabric or is it micro computer intimacy? Is this texture, textile or text? Is this archaology or statistics? We cannot trust in our conclusions about drawing or reality. In this situation the best reaction is to slow down. Nowadays speed is tragic in arts, diplomacy and cars.
BH: Can you say something about your juxtaposition of delicate engraving/etching and ordinary, household objects, such as kitchen foil still in its cardboard box, empire rulers and plain paper? This use of the everyday and simple is taken to an incredibly detailed and poetic level in 'Micro and Soft on McIntosh Apples', 1999, which uses a dry-point technique to make minute drawings on the apples' surface. Also, your careful use of language comes into play here...
MM: I already talked about training our empathy for the indecipherable, that drawings are texts that you cannot read. Similar training is conducted by choosing insignificant objects, giving them a second chance, changing their destiny from garbage containers to art collections. They have very beautiful surfaces: the silky side of the aluminum foil, the McIntosh apple skin, coated office paper, industrial graphite sheets, plexi-glass. If you see a drawing on aluminum foil in a very important institution you will perhaps take more care and time at the supermarket. Attention and delicacy are two subversive activities in Walmart. My first video piece, in collaboration with Ken Solomon, show the biography of an apple. A photo with video vocation, a slow perception test. One photo, every ten minutes, during 40 days, documenting apple skin micro mutations.
BH: Do you have an interest in the tradition or history of drawing and etching, or are these activities simply useful for your purposes? For example, Dana Self compared your mapmaking impulse to that of Jan Vermeer.
MM: I did an MFA majoring in Printmaking at the State University of New York. My interest was not in the print process. I focused on plates and particularly in the threshold between two and three dimensions, using engraving and embossing. As I write today, I am engraving a plexi-glass sheet but I will not print from it. I stop here. The framed plexi-plate projects a shadow on the paper. The technique could be called printing with shadow. You see the projection but you cannot see the real drawing on the plexi-glass. A spacer between the plexi sheet and the back paper is a second referent to three dimensions. In fact, the relationship between two and three dimensions is another very important dichotomy. Jan Vermeer and Fred Sandback are my favourite artists, if that helps you locate where my interests lie. I did my first print edition last year. I was invited by The Drawing Center in New York for the 25th Anniversary of the institution. I worked with Greg Burnett, a master printer and a master friend.
BH: Do you enjoy the physical processes of art making?
MM: It is my full-time job and my life’s work. Process is my concept and my purpose, the work’s origin and its goal. The most important phase in that process is not to warm up my hand before returning to the drawing, it is the viewer’s process of art-making that is the vital stage.
TIME IS IN NO HURRY
by José Roca
JR: You once said that we are doomed to know more and understand less; considering that nowadays there is a universe of knowledge at our fingertips and that information is available instantaneously, do you place your work at the edge of intelligibility in order to slow down this process and to mitigate the vertigo caused by this thirst for knowledge?
MM: Information increases at the speed of light, while our capacity for understanding remains the same. One can either enjoy this lack of proportion or dig in against this binary avalanche of data, images, and sounds.
I should like to propose a change in protocol: we should be happy about computers because they save us time. Time that allows us to progress at an increasingly slower pace. A pace that is slow enough to increase our affinity for insignificant things (things that are small or incomprehensible).
Ninety percent of current descriptions of the universe are based on mathematical metaphors, expressed in scientific dialects. These numerical languages cannot be translated into Spanish or English. These dialects are so specific that they do not allow specialists in different disciplines to communicate with each other. Astrophysicists cannot explain their new conclusions to microbiologists. Reality is not within anyone’s grasp.
The first step is to convince yourself that you don’t understand much at all. After accepting this handicap, you can stop and pay attention to the people and surroundings closest to you. I encourage taking time out, and my works are like parking lots.
Throughout the 20th century, we all supported revolutions for all and for ever. This century, revolution is at our fingertips, because it is minute and slow.
JR: Formal and very dissimilar metaphors have been used to describe your work: mock-ups of utopian cities, topographies, integrated circuits, calligraphy, weavings. Can the desire to find a formal similarity to a recognizable pattern be viewed as a symptom of the necessity (even further, the anxiety) to “understand”? I am asking this because your work seems to reflect on precisely the opposite, the inability to understand. I can particularly see this in your work when you cut up copies of universal masterpieces. The piece is seen from the opposite site, all points of reference are whisked away and it becomes impossible to see, even though it exists.
MM: There is an urgent need for understanding, and my work attempts to defer this possibility. The aim of slowing down is not to disconcert, but to enjoy a surface: neither leaves nor time are in the slightest hurry. This is why I draw precise confusion; slow landscapes that act as figurative support structures. I am more interested in the process of reading a surface than the conclusions drawn from it.
JR: In other words, your work is about itself in the sense that there is no extraneous discourse, at least in the illustrative sense. What you see is what you see; a rather unusual concept when it comes to contemporary art.
MM: My only intention is a reading full of tension. Works of art accumulate discreet layers of sediment that can be confused with blank sheets or stimulate the excavation of the visual field. There is nothing hidden or profound; they are all about discovering the advantages of taking the time to get close.
It is healthy to acknowledge our inability to understand, but it is essential not to continue living or creating art as if everything was clear to us. Current information is out of focus and prevents advice from being offered. It only allows the suggestion of a change in manners.
JR: Your work seems to be the result of some type of automatic writing, an intuitive exercise that is translated into shapes – from the subconsciousto the hand – more than a rational process that is carried out based on preestablished theoretical guidelines. Probably a bit of both apply. Could you tell us about your process?
MM: Drawing is like writing in a language that we don’t know how to read. This type of writing is not automatic; it is an exercise in patience and control based on a growing alphabet and strict syntax.
A drawing is built up like a letter; sheets of letter paper free of messages. Bio-grafía de un dibujo (Bio-graphy of a Drawing) is the title of my project for CIFO, which shows the expansion of a drawing in twelve stations. The processes of making a drawing and looking at it are very similar. They are journeys made by our focus of attention, which allow the visualization of time.
JR: Twelve stations ... Do you think of them as a sequence with a climax, or are they independent with an equivalent value in formal terms?
MM: Each station is a drawing: a point of balance that could be definitive, but instead decides to continue its elopement. The project is based on a dialogue between three digital instruments: a scanner, a printer and a hand (the hand is the most digital tool there is). I draw, scan, print and continue with the same drawing: the itinerary planned for eleven printed interruptions. The last station is the original pencil drawing that includes, submits, submerges or relates to the eleven previous stations. A drawing is always adding and subtracting (for example, you only get a single line when two points are joined). Normally, the artist is the only witness to these successive mutations.
JR: Is this project complemented with other work?
MM: The title of the CIFO project refers to the work already mentioned: dibujo en doce estaciones (a drawing in twelve stations) (Manual to Settle Sediments), and also includes a Hotbed: a ream of ninety-eight sheets of letter-size paper with cuts in the top sheet. And a video (in partnership with Ken Solomon) showing a close-up of the top of one of Hotbed’s reams. It is a photograph with the vocation of a video: the camera focuses on the cuts and folds on the paper. The light is the only thing that moves and it slowly displaces the shadow... a shadow drawing in continuous evolution... on a loop. A sun simulation played in reverse: from sunrise to sunset and from sunset to sunrise.
JOSÉ ROCA. A Colombian curator. He is currently the artistic director of FLORA ars+natura, a contemporary creation space in Bogotá, and director of the LARA Collection (Latin American Roaming Art).
This article was published by the Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation (CIFO) on the occasion of In Transition: 2010 CIFO Grants & Commissions Program Exhibition, held from September 2 to November 7, 2010.
by Mary-Kay Lombino
MKL: The materials you use are not typical fine art materials but instead are household items like aluminium foil, eyeglass lenses, parking mirrors, and reams of paper. What attracts you to such materials?
MM: Go slower and closer.
Speed is tragic in cars, arts, and malls. When I reduce my speed at Home Depot or Stop & Shop, I always discover amazing surfaces: from McIntosh Apple skin to the silky back side of construction rulers. Each surface has many faces to establish intimate dialogues with my three tools: pencil, X-Acto knife, and time.
After seeing one of my aluminium drawings on view the viewer returning to the supermarket can give a second chance or smile to Reynolds foil rolls.
MKL: The attention to detail in your works convey the craftsmanship of the hand- made, yet they begin with objects that are industrially fabricated. This seems to set up a tension in your work because they are both high-tech and low- tech at the same time. Which aspect do you embrace more?
Industry will never create a more digital tool than a hand: five digits instead of only zeros and ones. I love computers because they go faster and faster to allow us to go lentissimo.
Tension is a key word for me: tension between cold materials and personal hand, tension between text and texture, or between macro and micro.
I can find many dichotomies and tensions but not one specific intention in my work; I am only suggesting some protocol mutations.
MKL: You have a talent for transforming the artistic gesture into tightly controlled, almost obsessive mark making. How do you attain such control? Do you use mathematical systems to work out your compositions, or are your drawings all free form?
MM: It’s not a mathematical jail, it’s not free form, and it’s time.
My work has plenty of warm rules to try to make the time visible and the space invisible. Our illegible world is global and myopic. Braking time and reducing the scale is my answer. No big solutions or urgent revolutions: my proposal is a homeopathic process. Person by person, step-by-step, inch by inch.
MKL: You must have extraordinary reserves of patience and dexterity to achieve such minute detail in your work. Are these attributes you have always had, or skills you had to acquire through practice in order to accomplish your artistic objectives?
MM: If you trust in slow politics you must exercise humour and patience. Waiting... I try to build a second reality.
MKL: Many of your works are quiet and understated and invite slow observation in order to discover some of the gems hidden in the details. Do you intentionally make art that unravels slowly as the viewer experiences the work more closely?
MM: Yes, yes! That is the centre of my protocol mutation proposal. Nowadays delicacy became a subversive activity because we love terahertz and long- distance lives.
Fast viewers see, from far away, a drawing as a blank sheet. Slow viewerscan read ten times more in the same drawing, switching perspective and conclusions many more times. My main focus is not the object or the subject. I focus on the time between the object and the viewer. I am interested in the specific protocol of manners and pace in the viewing process.
MKL: Can you tell me about your interest in language and information (codes, maps, diagrams) and how that influences your work as well as the titles of your works?
MM: Building a second reality needs a lot encoding and planning. A language hotbed is always based in a growing alphabet, happy diagrams, and syntax.
To draw is very similar to writing in a language that I cannot read: a text with no hope of being informative. It’s not a thread; it is training to stimulate our empathy for insignificance.
In recent years I have been working on a series titled The Ted Turner Collection from CNN to DNA. The project started by thinking about the word “cover”.It’s interesting to me that the mass media use the word “cover” to mean the opposite: to show something. They promise “complete coverage”. Sometimes the coverage is so efficient that we cannot recognize the difference between live transmission and death. We are familiar with the DNA structure or genome alphabet but we cannot read a hair that obviously includes the information to clone our best friend. I have only one question: is the inability to relate to this a type of information blindness or should it be described as a new formof illiteracy? In either case the most advisable thing to do is to patiently resign ourselves to the fact that we are doomed to knowing more and understanding less—victims of semiotic indigestion. The extreme percussion of news prevents any repercussion of the news. An overdose of drama is the perfect aesthetic, a tool for censorship that is more efficient than a pair of scissors. We are setting up a society of dysfunctional information.
MKL: Your Hotbeds remind me of Félix González-Torres’s stacks of posters or photocopies on the one hand, and on the other hand they recall tiny abstract monuments strategically placed in the centre of miniature city plazas.Which do you relate more to, the simple yet powerful gestures González- Torres made on the floor of art galleries and museums or the more grand achievement of erecting sculpture in a public space?
MM: Influence is always invisible to its victims. I know that I really love Félix and his generous art dissemination, dynamics, and sublime contamination.
My Hotbed series is related to tectonic archives and books profiles. They are static landscapes in transition between constructing and demolishing, between models and ruins. The American ream is a paper-like micro sculpture and pedestal all in one.
MARY-KAY LOMBINO. Curator in charge of contemporary art and photography atThe Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College. Her past exhibitions include The Polaroid Years: Instant Photography and Experimentation; By Hand: Pattern Precision, and Repetition in Contemporary Drawing; and solo shows for numerous artists including Marco Maggi, Phil Collins, Ken Price, Euan Macdonald, and Mungo Thomson.
This interview was published by The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College on the occasion of the exhibition by Marco Maggi: Lentissimo, which took place from 20 January to 1 April 2012.
Guillermo Ovalle interview on the occasion of Radical Optimism draft Marco Maggi in NC-art October 20 to December 17, 2011.
Guillermo Ovalle : Marco, do not know how happy I am, first of all you've agreed to do this project in NC-art, and you're here with us. It is the most important thing that has happened to me since I am the director of this space.
Marco Maggi : It gives me great joy that has to do with you and Bogota. For a year we come together this exhibition planning; in this we are partners or accomplices.
Guillermo Ovalle Where Radical Optimism born ?, because it is not the first time you do it.
Marco Maggi : In 2009 we decided to take a walk Josée Bienvenu a title. And two words that do not get along came together: optimism and radical; an attractive corner whose only goal is high definition. A name that works with minimal modifications in Portuguese, English, Italian or French without achieving precisely understood in any language. The format and geography were part of the vagueness of the project, so the title was opened in May 2010 with a group exhibition of Latin American artists Josée Gallery in New York.
Now, in Colombia, Radical Optimism became a solo exhibition. At the next stop will be a sign of group at the Nara Roesler Gallery in San Paulo. Sooner or later, the name will travel to Madrid and Paris to return to New York. In 2012, Josée plans at its Chelsea space optimistic and radical series of Project Rooms based on international artists.
Guillermo Ovalle : There is a certain dichotomy in Radical Optimism, on the one hand an effort to define and secondly to leave open spaces.
Marco Maggi : Exactly. The intention is to create a friendly and sympathetic chain confusion. A label out of focus, confusion states that as my drawings can result in inconclusive dichotomies. This drawing is text or a texture? Ruins or foundations of an alphabet? Is the aerial view of a city or the intimacy of a computer? Are organic or technological fabrics? You Will preComlombino or posClintoniano? So the sample in NC is both micro and macro when in fact refers only to decide what each inferred to cross it; functions as a hanger for figurations in the privacy of his head.
The goal of the work is not the content or the container. The only clear proposal is to suggest a mutation protocol. A mild to slow down and leave the long-distance friends. Closely with targeting, thorough and healthy approach in these times.
I propose a visual field that tries to multiply our sympathy for the insignificant. Be slow in an exhibition or office can focus attention on a cascade of envelopes, letter strudel or flakes Post it. Approaching a shelf in a supermarket enables us to give a second chance to the sumptuous shell of Macintosh apples; or discover the glossy side of kitchen foil.
Ovalle : Within the context of your work, there was a path, what was the route to reach the assembly NC-art?
Marco Maggi : I keep a rare process, always start from the end. I choose the first frame and then do the drawing.
I started framing the NC-art space, enclosing their strengths and difficulties. The ideal result would not know which came first: the leaves or building. For example, ladder or the columns of the room could disrupt the vision of the pattern on the ground; I preferred to fulfill the function of punctuation in a text.
My intention from the beginning was that the alleged interference intermittent help multiply the effect of the lines of blocks of paper. To move, building vertical fragment the perspective of space, creating chapters like catch fire and turn off the colored paper structure.
Guillermo Ovalle : Undoubtedly you have a very clear understanding of the architecture, that is, understand the space, perhaps because of being constructor.
Marco Maggi : constructor and destructor. All my work is on the threshold between two and three dimensions; between printmaking and drawing, between the plane and the installation, including the line that cuts the paper and folded micro sculpture.
This exhibition is like a huge expansion of one of my slides; them short 35mm paper, but in this case was 35 meters. Such excessive expansion caused the pixelization of lines of color on the floor.
Guillermo Ovalle : I found it fascinating how you started the "site specific" in NC-art. The first thing you did was basically frame the space once you start composing demarcated from the outside in. I saw it as an almost instinctive act.
Marco Maggi : The first gesture was the perimeter line up columns and stairs treating them as if they were massive cuts and folds of paper.
Initial rectangle that resembles the work of a surveyor, prior to layout a construction site. Defining the limits of the land, the region. Define the exact size of the challenge, disinfect the operative field to start a reality with other rules.
NC building helps a lot, is a sculpture in itself an atrium of 12 meters and a bridge connecting it to the front who decided to declare independence.
One of the pillars of the court has three stories high and was plastered with yellow postits 12,000: the mountain of pending issues that prevent us from addressing the more rational optimism.
Guillermo Ovalle : The best combination of space and work I've seen in a long time, an extraordinary dialogue. There is a sense of rhythm between gangs and reams of paper correspondence to the column, the stairs ... I guess everything that comes from that sense of construction, the domain that you have the space. The work covers an enormous and at the same minimum time, in line drawings, on the platforms of the reams of paper area.
Marco Maggi : I see reams of paper as roofs.
Guillermo Ovalle : Roofs?
Marco Maggi : Or parking lots. The dialogue with the space seems essential, but my only goal has to do with time. The spatial structure, travel or dumb alphabet rising over the pedestals of paper are excuses or trying to retain details, halt and if possible ... park the observer.
The labyrinth and the small scale favor a slow movement in a state of permanent alert. Require precautions, watch where you walk and pay attention to the most insignificant symptoms or signs ... as if we were walking in a minefield.
Guillermo Ovalle : You alluded to terms route pause. In your work, whether big or small are these the most important visual references?
Marco Maggi : I am a promoter of breaks. My pencil drawings are tectonic and can be mistaken for a blank surface; pay attention to moving plates or planes out of focus are discovered. Millefeuille of Troy.
I have reference to a movie. Where speed is standard and scandalous; the viewer receives 24 frames per second. In the case of the sample in N, there are 24 reams per second, quite the contrary. The viewer is free to guide their pace and I try to delay it. The different levels of information are not underground but raised as a linear pathway with 500 scales or 250,000 sheets. They are strategies capillarity, retention and providing proximity to go doses of homeopathic information.
Guillermo Ovalle : Is there some way reference to the nature or the human body?
Marco Maggi : The body does not know. The permanent reference is to our quality of perception. Always working to limit the imperceptible. I am interested in the tiny and infamous. If something flies very fast ... we do not see, or hear. If something moves slowly thought it does not move. We are not able to see neither very large nor too small, neither stars nor microbes. And yet, we insist to have him full confidence to a sensing apparatus as precarious. We are an example of perception of modest rank and blind faith.
Having clear the narrow limits of our 5 senses did not stop us building chained doctrines that seemed to solve everything and forever. Not seen but were visionaries. Advancing science confirming our inability to know the reality and parallel forjábamos appealed certainties about the fate of the world and all its inhabitants. Based on a partial and vague information we infect maximum and specific convictions.
The nature protected us; He pushed us the minimum and maximum Universe Universe, giving us a chance to tell very moderate, on a human scale, humble. Or organic telescope or microscope. We had to invent them.
During countless period, each paid attention to the dose of news that generated their immediate environment. The invasion of the mass and portable communication finished with natural discretion. We were sheltered by the inability to see and hear a long distance, now we face a new weather ... the abyss of looking and listening the planet with a magnifying glass and an amplifier in the pocket 24 x 7.
So I propose to stop and approach. That is the caution that should be taken, once unveiled global blindness: slow down and take in-touch with the surface.
A few years ago I did a series of exhibitions under the umbrella of a title, "Myopia Global".
Myopic they go slowly and pay attention, shorten distances to achieve better focus Braille.
I proposed then, the spread of myopia to win modestly, given what little sight seeing.
There was one more step, taken with humor our visual impotence and proposing to optimism as a form of blindness auspicious. For that we are made; and not for the pride of the eagle believed to have eagle eye.
Guillermo Ovalle : physically, in terms of space, there is a scaling relationship with humans? For example a while ago came a group of students and most of them crouched to see your roof. It fell to distinguish. Rarely it is seen in an exhibition that people remain silent and bend over to see the play.
Marco Maggi : Artists disguise but basically seeking people remain silent or their knees ...
Guillermo Ovalle : You did it ... (laughs)!
Marco Maggi : five years ago in the American Colombo, in an exhibition cured Estefania Sokoloff, "The Role of Paper", I covered the huge lounge area with layers of leaves office. On the white, flaky structures carpet she had reams and calligraphy very different sections of the exhibition. Instead of a winding maze that impedes progress without paying attention, as in this sample, I installed a floor of moving blades that required shoes and move slowly. It was an unstable and seemed to walk in the snow. People flowed slowly and quietly. It was another way to propose one change of manners new traffic rules. The overall structure in the exhibition in 2006, was a mess of paper, otherwise the maze and orthogonal color coded Radical Optimism. Two different strategies with the same goal: stop and zoom. On the Internet a video that documented a similar American Colombo I made n 2003, at the Cultural Center of Spain in Montevideo (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WverwYCnn0&feature=related) facility is available
Guillermo Ovalle : I like the term braking. Insist that people observe open your powers of perception, noticing.
Marco Maggi : We give enough consideration, the issue is that saturate us with indiscriminate bombing shocks. Censorship in the twentieth century acted as scissors, cut out the news. Current censorship acts flood. We are victims of a semiotic indigestion caused by an overdose of drama so clamorous, that prevents any reaction. Information percussion has an overwhelming rhythm that nothing gets the impact it deserves. Currently pay attention it may be considered a subversive activity.
Guillermo Ovalle : Anesthetized.
Marco Maggi : Exactly, and hurry asleep. Under very limited capacity of perception, we add an inhuman traffic diversion excess comedy or drama.
So I think it is appropriate to open parentheses instead of generating new thesis. Build parking lots, hiatuses. Draw until the density of the plot allows thin and clear. Lower the volume graphic landscape.
Guillermo Ovalle : Is there any place to which you would like to intervene? A public square, a museum, a landscape ...
Marco Maggi : No. What I like are the specific challenges presented without going to look for them. The interesting thing is to react to a specific reality. Given freedom within limits.
My formats are always standard: letter size sheets, slide frames, apples, aluminum rolls 12 or 18 inches, acrylic prisms in the measures offered in the market. It never occurred to me to design a support or find an ideal location. I like to surprise well defined clichés.
Guillermo Ovalle : Good thing: freedom from something contained.
Marco Maggi : Yes. Somewhat limited and shared everyday. I think the characteristic of freedom, the only freedom is that which sets precise limits. All standard format is nothing but a set of unalterable limits, a starting point that requires rigorous focus and prevents beat around the bush. The hiporeal or infraordinary is reductionism; suppresses endless and irrelevant possibilities.
Guillermo Ovalle : Where does the taste you have for the role?
Marco Maggi : I am essentially superficial. I like surfaces. Fled from the depths and content. There is nothing more than a paper surface; it's just surface.
Our region, Latin America, has a venerable stock of ideas. A stock more than enough.
Any nascent notion evokes sympathy and its first vocation clear.
All clear idea aspires to be fixed.
The history of ideas shows that they all end up being considered precarious personal or collective enthusiasms. The ideas decay while growing my enthusiasm for the quality of ceramic tablets, graphite plates, waterproof paper, acrylic prisms, polycarbonate lenses. Draw is dialogue with the surface. Always working with soft materials that allow the incision mark the parapet between drawing and engraving. One slot or minimally releases embossing plane line.
Guillermo Ovalle : The deeper than superficial.
Marco Maggi : Draw with a soft pencil on a sheet of aluminum kitchen Reynolds can generate impalpable reliefs. By contrast, a graphite mine H9 wounds in his tour on Yupo paper or claybord Ampersand. To finish a drawing you look under oblique light slit lines for graphite and rivers appear in the most superficial surface water hair.
I have the utmost respect for serious intellectuals and heavy fuels. They take care of the abyss and I prefer surfing ("If you want a message to go to a courier.")
Guillermo Ovalle : Did you paint ever when you were studying, or ever made formal sculpture casts? All your work is basically a drawing.
Marco Maggi : Yes, I am draftsman. When words no longer suffice to name things and insist numbers be exact, drawing is the only means apt to fail to understand.
I did a master in printmaking and never made an issue. The only exception was an invitation from the Drawing Center in NY to celebrate thirty years of the institution.
I worked the plate "anniversary" edition and made a beloved teacher, Greg Barnett. It is a diptych generated with a single sheet.
Working with a tip of copper is wonderful but face an issue, I find alien.
While studying at the University I stopped at the end of a sheet and did not approach the presses. Drypoint etching or do not need ink and paper. My series of drawings on aluminum foil called Soft Plate (tinplate) and my pencil drawings on paper Slow Edition (slow edition). When I attempt pencil drawing on paper repeated the same pattern: extremely slow and very limited editions.
The foil is a sheet of unsurpassed recorded by its malleability while refusing any possibility of editing. I press it would end with the information.
The print editions had the function of multiplying the contact with people. Today this function is performed popular Internet and HD files. To make an infinite and really cheap edition enough to publish the picture on the web with more quality for the perfect reproduction.
Sorry, I now agree that your question was about painting and sculpture. Never did traditional sculpture ... or molds, or chisel. I painted in prehistoric times but I never took it with rigor and interest. I always felt that ornate painting or drawing on makeup. I'm interested in materials that have incorporated color and admire many artists who are able to enter the light with the same ease that line. My only relationship to light are the shadows. The shadow of a folded paper or shade that generates a cut above acrylic. The latter is a technique called "shadow on paper" and is very formal framing of a blank paper with passe-partout. On acrylic that covers he recorded a drawing office with a scalpel. By illuminating the work on the line disappears and acrylic on paper projects a shadow of high definition, a line that seems drawn ink.
The observer does not see the reality (the line engraved in the acrylic) and has an open access to representation (shadow cast on paper).
Drawing, direct and fuzzy, is ideal for fixing the bones of uncertainty tool.
I always tend to lower and that means me away again paint or bronze; I started working with pencil on paper; I can now draw less: pencil on pencil (graphite drawing on graphite sheet) or single blocks of paper or acrylic courts.
Guillermo Ovalle : Do you think the work of fleeting NC?
Marco Maggi : Yes. It is a facility with maturity: matures on December 17, 2011; if you ever want to repeat you will have to be in this space as it is quite specific.
I have great friends obsessed with the importance of acid-free paper and inorganic ink. Control light, temperature and humidity. Jacob Elhanani is an extraordinary draftsman, working three months in a small drawing with the certainty that their materials are eternal. Look at his work from that perspective. I work months in a drawing with the certainty of being more precarious than paper or fruit. I had big surprises in this field; for example, the series of works drawn on Macintosh apples.
In the process I discovered two common facts nothing: an apple can be dried without breaking; within a few weeks it becomes a fossil wood and retains good drawing made in it: a perfumed stable file.
Of course the block must be the station. If it was frozen it is doomed to a peremptory disappearance or artificial survival. The fruit water degree below zero breaks the cell and thereafter dehydration loses all ability to be natural and harmonious.
The second condition is that the court is not interested in drawing the pulp has no more depth than the thickness of the outer shell, because the fruit in imitation of human beings has dermis and epidermis.
With these two precautions apple slowly dehydrated for 45 days and can be stored for decades.
I made a video with Ken Solomon documenting that process, a photo every 10 minutes for a month and a half. The video was exposed three years at MoMA can be seen on YouTube: (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4aJhdJl1dZI).
Guillermo Ovalle : You said that the central idea of your project is the surface, how you argue the content of these surfaces, no content, no content, it is only the surface?
Marco Maggi : No content. It is an empty can, and no matter the can. All that is offered is the open ceremony and the opportunity to take over the vacuum. Pack a pause or a drawing to read without haste or hope to be informed.
This exercise on perception has nothing to do with meditation, it is clear that the inner emptiness is contrary to the objective emptying. If I achieve my aim when drawing surface, a couple of meters away looks like a blank sheet.
Closer, almost gray sheet.
Up close is possible to dig in the visual field in search of a meaning. A plane, another plane and no plan. To conclude that the reality became illegible and visual arts invisible.
The content or goal would become the transit traverse the work helps to lose track of scale and displays the time.
Guillermo Ovalle : Is there some kind of identity you want to project, and more personal, or political, or social, or of any kind?
Marco Maggi : In the central wall hanging shows a number of envelopes without any message.
I repeat : "If you want a message, go messaging" - Onetti always right.
The same phenomenon occurs in the vertical slides or leaves the office platforms. Almost obsolete materials that were until recently essential in traffic of ideas, programs, reports, recipes, tips, pictures or other recommendations.
The only thing I suggest is to encourage delay and proximity, like an instruction manual or a government plan. In this case, the campaign slogan is: patience is the science of peace.
The work is itself is being. It is there and is. Just as there are works that draw attention, others call intent.
Guillermo Ovalle : Is there a partner in the project implementation process memory, or expect that the viewer has some kind of evocation?
Marco Maggi : No. When drawing or short papers, have certain structures and syntax that connects these structures, interest is to create something visually polisémico have no other function claim a sense.
Guillermo Ovalle : Either way when your work is seen in 200 or 300 years will have a very clear identity of the early twenty-first century, particularly because you used a paper type that surely no longer exist in 300 years, in that sense will be a historical memory, apart from all the visual construction that is what counts.
Marco Maggi : I have no expectations in that regard, but if I'm interested, materials that are using or failing to use; mark them on your own for a moment.
We are aware of the obsession that had artists, curators, people linked to art, with slides; and we saw disappear from brutal way. In ten years passed from glory to be an artifact museum; no longer exist. That mark our time well, the death of the slide.
Guillermo Ovalle : Death of the reams of bond paper ...
Marco Maggi : Yes. They talk about the paperless but are increasingly wallpaper. The financial crisis of 2008 in USA, and the financial crisis of 2011 in Europe, have in common the geometric multiplication of the paper. Contracts mortgages, insurance, printing money, vain and sovereign bonds. Papers generated by other papers that guarantee other papers and continue to print.
Guillermo Ovalle : In a world that is being scanned ...
Marco Maggi : But it is. A world as contradictory as this report to be published on paper and add more information to a world that we define a while ago as saturated with data and "original" ideas.
Guillermo Ovalle : I see you in contravía because many contemporary artists write a text of his work, want to control the message intended. In fact, many colleges require students to do Fine Arts primarily a written proposal, a text and then work, a support that is becoming more common. You're on the wrong side, at one point I asked a text for an educational record and felt great resistance ...
Marco Maggi : All my work is before or after certain. I'm the opposite of an enlightened, I am off.
Guillermo Ovalle : (laughs) That's great, it is interesting. Increasingly people are eating more, eating more, makes me think for example in the US where there is an epidemic of obesity, right?
But going to another subject I know you come from a family of artists, intellectuals, how you grew up ?, I ask because I am very interested that part of context, where do you come from?
Marco Maggi : I come from a very likable people.
Guillermo Ovalle : I'm sure of that.
Marco Maggi : My parents enjoyed a Uruguay that to some extent all long without knowing it, is half of the twentieth century, left world champions in Maracana while we enjoyed a surplus and humanistic welfare state. The two were very young and had many privileges cultural, some of them based outside misfortunes as the Spanish Civil War, which made xtraordinary intellectual reach Uruguay. My parents were at the epicenter of all that, what was called in Uruguay generation 45; my mother was a novelist, wrote fiction all his life and served as a trade goodness; My father writes theater and rehearsal practice, history and every Sunday journalism opinion. My sister is a minister of the Court in the judiciary.
They always say that a similar runners forming the grid reams in the exhibition space were left with the ideas and the space separating them,.
Guillermo Ovalle : As in litter of Gabriel García Márquez. Have a memory of childhood relationships with Radical Optimism?
Marco Maggi : I always said that my mother's family were all optimistic and always, my best friends were radical.