Mendes Wood DM is delighted to present "Phasmides", Catalan artist Daniel Steegmann Mangrané's second solo show at the gallery. His new body of work explores ideas of drawing, abstraction, geometry, corporality and immateriality. At the heart of the exhibition is Phasmides, a 16mm film that follows a family of stick insects camouflaged in a complex, geometric set designed by the artist. In a series of highly abstract shots, wherein the insects' silhouettes appear and disappear, Steegmann Mangrané intimates the instability and the fragility of the cinematic image. Over the course of the film, geometric forms become organic and organic forms reveal their geometry; the living bodies seem inanimate and the inanimate latent with life.
A small group of holograms and paintings hung in the main space further explore these ideas. This odd integration of elements is surprisingly suave, as branches and insects blend seamlessly into geometric compositions, investigating a relationship between Abstraction and nature. The recurrent figure of the stick insect evokes the possibility of an organism's integration with its environment; this integration is not only perfectly expressed in the phasmida's anatomy, but also in its behavior.
The evolutionary process through which animals camouflage themselves is called crypsis, from the Greek krypticos meaning "fit for concealing", which implies that which is hidden in plain sight. In his Essay "Mimicry and Legendary Psychasthenia", philosopher Roger Caillois suggests that contrary to popular belief, animals blend into their surroundings not to protect themselves, but rather out of a mythological desire to dissolve into the world.
It's not our use of language, movement or form a way to dissolve in the world?