Exhibition Review – Marcius Galan, White Cube, Bermondsey, London.

Marcius Galan – Geometric Progression, 17th July – 29th September 2013 

White Cube, Bermondsey, London. 

Fig. 1 Three Sections, 2010. wax, wall painting, light filters and wood.

Calming, warming, green hue that has taken over the entire gallery space, a site specific installation made of strips of wood with a green inlay/rebated strip which add/increase the perception/illusion that there is a physical (glass/glazed) barrier.

The gallery space was filled with a rhythmic, ‘in the womb’ soundtrack, a motor spinning  a grinding wheel and the hypnotic grinding noise of a disc being slowly erased as it is ground into sparks (Eclipse 2013. Looped film and soundtrack. A spinning grinding wheel with a small ferrous disc held against it, with changing contrasting back lighting throughout).

‘Eclipse’ evoked thoughts of time and space, high contrast lighting, slow movements, like the iconic space station scenes from 2001: A Space Odyssey (Stanley Kubrick). A spinning black hole, with sparks emitting a random repetitive pattern, chaos and order, the beginning of space, time and the universe, universal elements and forces that created everything.

The tonal effect of the colours and lighting in ‘Three Sections’ (Fig. 1) created depth of field, the sense of looking through multiple layers of glass, a physical barrier, an illusion. Was it to keep us out or to keep something in? Imprisoning something or nurturing and encouraging it to grow? 

Fig. 2 Erased Composition (Progressive) 2013. Erasers and wooden frame.

Geometric pattern of erasers in various states of wear (from use), rubbings collected in a drift (piled) at the bottom of the frame.

‘Erased Composition (Progressive)’ (Fig. 2) is reminiscent of Robert Rauschenberg’s Erased de Kooning (1951) and along with ‘Eclipse’ reminded me of various myths and modern idioms; Sisyphus’s toil against enforced drudgery, a never ending task, the supposed benefits of elbow grease, to keep your nose to the grindstone, working hard is the only means to succeed. A metaphor for the human spirit worn down by life’s daily grind?

Bringing to mind a Billy Apple (Barrie Bates) piece I saw earlier in the day at the Mayor Gallery, Cork Street, “If you wipe a dirty spot off a wall you’ve removed it, but you haven’t eliminated it. You’re stuck with a dirty cloth you didn’t have before.” (1971).

Galan may have erased the erasers but we are still left with a pile of rubbings and shavings at the bottom of the frame. A shitty job is still a shitty job regardless of the salary.

Both ‘Immobile’ (Fig. 3)  and ‘Three Sections’ (Fig. 1) were very well exhibited, in their own designated (installation) spaces, pushing the boundaries of the illusion, challenging the viewer, to reassess the object in front of them, the fabric of the installation as well as the practice undertaken to create them. Whereas the rest of the exhibited works were not so well curated, with objects overlapping each other’s observational space if not their physical space, a room of simple pieces with complex political and social messages that were not complimented by being crowded together.

Galan tackles various elements of the human condition, how we surround ourselves with restrictive invisible barriers, to protect or nurture, that also prevent us from achieving more. The way people believe or are tricked into believing that they have freedom even though they are weighed down with worry by materiality, debts, responding to consumerist societal pressures. Galan’s use of materials defies our preconceptions, steel sheets folded like paper, string and wire under tension, appearing to suspend the object attached, when they are actually weighed down by them, art works made from objects that are normally used to remove marks from the surface.

Fig. 3 Immobile, 2013. Wood, coin, cables and iron.

A giant mobile, counterbalanced, under tension, and suspension, from the very large to the very small. Immobile, as all the discs are stationary, resting on the ground.

Marcius Galan (born 1972)

Galan lives and works in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Galan has become internationally recognised when he won the PIPA (Premio Investidor Profissional de Arte) in 2012 after being a finalist in 2010. (http://www.pipaprize.com/pag/artists/marcius-galan/)

Marcius Galan was born in Indianapolis, USA, but returned to live in the home country of his parents, Brazil before he was old enough to walk and talk in English.

He graduated in Art at the FAAP (Fundacao Armando Alvares Peneteado) in 1997.

As well as being recognised by PIPA, in 2003 he won a residency of six months in Cité des Arts in Paris through FAAP and in 2004 spent 3 months in residency at the Art Institute of Chicago through the Iberê Camargo Scholarship Program.

Galan exhibited as a solo artist in Brazil from 2004 but did not exhibit further afield until 2007 having now exhibited across South America, North America and Europe with his solo exhibition at the White Cube, Bermondsey (July 17th – September 29th 2013) being my first interaction with his work.

Galan is interested in the measuring of things, how to measure and ‘weigh up the world’, from the artistic philosophical sciences, a renaissance approach to understanding the world, through to the specific, technical atomic measurements of the modern scientific world. The traverse of time, the way mankind measures time and the elements within his art that can represent the passing of time are all fascinating to him.

He works with industrial, construction, stationary and office materials, questioning how objects function, subverting the logic of how things are supposed to work, how they are linked through time as well as space. Sculpture, installation and drawing, painting art works are all produced by Galan.

“for me art is a… it’s my way of trying to understand the world, you know? For me, a work only makes sense when I’m learning with it.” Marcius Galan (YouTube Video)

Image Sources:

Fig. 1 http://whitecube.com/images/content/55/main/2362637ed686bf503d14d35c9442989e_0.jpg

Fig. 2 http://whitecube.com/images/content/55/main/49ae87d6191d65bd647e31f5c29bad14_0.jpg

Fig. 3 http://whitecube.com/images/content/55/main/2a904a4afdc18108aa297f2a4067a73f_0.jpg

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About X-Wide P

Award winning advocate for art, heritage & culture; fine artist, museum & gallery manager and mild mannered front man of Relevant Elephant, finest purveyors of rock-steady hip-hop mambo
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One Response to Exhibition Review – Marcius Galan, White Cube, Bermondsey, London.

  1. Pingback: Year 1 Students Research & Analysis – Writing as Practice | ucafarnhamarts

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