Fotograf Magazine

Daniel Steegmann Mangrané

I Am But Pure Gas, Air, Empty Space, and Time

Daniel Steegmann Mangrané’s exhibition at the Fotograf Gallery was presented as one of the highlights of the most recent edition of the Fotograf Festival. Given the theme of the festival – Cultura/Natura – the artist and the exhibition’s curator, Tomáš Pospiszyl, selected a set of works based on the contrasts between nature and civilization. Specifically, this was a smaller set of photographs of rainforest insects (from the order Phasmatodea), which are perfectly adapted to their environment, collages from the artist’s series Kiti Ka’aeté that present geometrical cuts from pictures of rainforest greenery, and, certainly no less important, verses by the poet Stela do Patrocínio. Steegmann, a Spaniard, lives in Brazil, and, through these exhibited works, strove to provide a metaphorical understanding of different dispositions/awareness of the spacetime of nature and Western humankind. The entirely natural culmination of his Prague show was the screening of a 16 mm film at the close of the exhibition, which presented a record of that which was captured by a camera sliding along a cable running through rainforest vegetation. This recording and reproduction of images and sound presented the viewers a powerful experience of “closeness”. However, the camera’s motion created space in our sense of understanding only to return to its nonlinear and non-segmented biocosm shortly afterwards. Its mechanical eye created a world that we understand and are capable of controlling. Recording technology has based on its function, proven to be a tool for designing “allowable” reality, on which not only our survival is based, but also our imagination.

Ondřej Mezera