Uruguayan Marco Maggi (b. 1957, Montevideo) was one of the artists selected for the 56th Venice Biennale, with a show that fitted inside a small suitcase. Now, for his second solo exhibition at Galeria Nara Roesler in São Paulo, he presents a development of his piece featured at the Biennale.
The exhibition title, One sentence with three corners, is a play on the word “canto” (meaning corner and chant in Portuguese) and references the large installation of stickers Maggi will create at the gallery, a piece he alludes to as “a very long sentence with three corners.” It features the trademark elements of the artist’s research, including small paper cutouts whose seeming familiarity capture the viewers’ attention. Nevertheless, the small and extremely precise geometrical structures mean nothing; they are only forms that require the attention of the eye in order to be viewed in their entirety. This strategy invites the public to a slow gaze and a deep perception, with no need to arrive at a strict meaning.
The conceptualism of the representation shown in Venice, entirely black and white, is enhanced by the addition of primary colors, another staple of the artist’s output. The exhibition is composed of several black and white panels of variable dimensions, which contain selected snippets, in blue, red, and yellow. Black and white cutouts are applied in contrast with the background at times, and in monochrome at others. This generates different volumes and shapes that resemble plans for imaginary cities or codes for signals that are beyond comprehension, and yet lures viewers into deciphering them.
Besides the paintings, Maggi creates an installation with these small markers and signals, in white as well as in primary colors, produced directly on the wall. “Stacking Quotes”, a recurrent piece in Maggi’s shows, is also featured here. It comprises a set of seven notebooks with small markers and signals in primary colors jutting out from between their pages, stacked on top of each other. Also, the installations made from pencils, attached perpendicularly to the wall by a rope pinned to the wall in an arched position, are represented in the show by a version containing 12 pencils, eight of them white, one red, one yellow, one blue and one black. Dangling from the ceiling in the middle of the gallery is a 5 meter-tall staircase built from white Fanfold paper, in the form of a rope staircase. A few of the stair’s “steps” are black or made of primary colors. The intention is to have the larger structure of the staircase disappear from a distance, so that the colored steps appear to float. Once again, a sense of disagreement invites viewers to decrease the distance between themselves and the work in order to gain a better grasp of what they are seeing.