La Pensée Ferale Daniel Steegmann Mangrané

Mendes Wood DM New York
Sept 15 - Oct 27, 2023
Mendes Wood DM is pleased to present La Pensée Férale, Daniel Steegmann Mangrané’s inaugural exhibition in New York City. Mangrané’s work traces the boundary where nature meets artifice, encompassing a range of media including installations, films, sound-based works, photographs, holograms and sculptures. Organic elements often serve as integral components and include branches, leaves, insects and most recently, dogs. Mangrané creates environments that undermine the traditional divides between nature and human aesthetics. Such intertwined environments question prevailing binary thinking, in terms of nature and culture as well as subjects and objects.
The titular work, La Pensée Férale (2020), was conceived in collaboration with the Brazilian philosopher Juliana Fausto, who contributed texts presented alongside seven photographs found throughout the gallery’s first floor. Each photograph centers on the eye of a dog situated among the vegetation of the Tijuca National Park in the mountains of Rio de Janeiro. The accompanying texts tell the story of the reforestation of the land in 1861 through enslaved labor and the current plague of stray dogs that disrupt its ecosystem. La Pensée Férale calls into question our understanding of ferality and what would be our domesticated thought if it managed to go feral.
Amid the photographs, Mangrané placed various organic works made between 2001 and 2023. Etched leaves offer delicate interventions, pinched on a steel pedestal in Elegancia y Renuncia (2005–11) and sewn between walls in Hojas llovidas (2001). Suspended twigs from the Ramita Partida series, created from meticulously split branches, rest scattered around Mangrané’s seven Breathing Lines. Composed of calibrated LED threads strung from floor to ceiling, Breathing Lines responds to the dynamics of local weather and surrounding sounds, illuminating its individual filaments in turn. Mangrané invites the outside world into the gallery space, reconfiguring the basic relationship of viewer and art objects.
On the lower level of the gallery, a 35-mm slide projector casts light onto a rhomboid of gold leaf. The surrounding space is punctured with glowing carmine holograms of branches and phasmids (stick insects), which also illuminate the space. The phasmids and branches seamlessly blend into one another in varied geometric compositions, evoking a kinship between abstraction and nature. Mangrané’s 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 phasmid’s anatomy but also in its behavior.
La Pensée Férale presents an environment in and of itself, bridging dichotomies between nature and technology, sculpture and installation, anthropogenic and symbiotic. Mangrané’s interventions, marked by both their precision and organic origins, work in partnership with his larger gestures, taking a phenomenological approach to the gallery space in its entirety, embracing the bodily experience of visitors in the space.
Installation Views