Drawing upon biology and new anthropological discourses as conceptual frameworks, Daniel Steegmann Mangrané’s exhibition at Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA) A leaf Shapes the Eye, proposes a holistic worldview in which there is no distinction between humans and their environment, and where relationships between all elements are in constant flux.


Daniel Steegmann Mangrané’s works questions the colonial dualisms such as culture and nature, subject and object, reality and dream, while also engaging with the subjectivity and social agency of non-humans and non-living elements. In his installations, sculptures and augmented reality creations, the artist addresses today’s social and ecological emergencies.

Having lived in Rio de Janeiro for two decades, Steegmann Mangrané understands the rainforest as more than just a place, but as a living being that embodies the complexities of our contemporary world, whether they be environmental, political, or social, and it serves as a metaphor for the delicate balance and interconnectedness of all things. Climate change reminds us that we are all part of the same organism and entangled within a complex network of relationships of mutual transformation.

Similarly, the artist’s work is greatly influenced by Brazilian Neo-Concrete artists. Like them, Steegmann Mangrané considers sensory engagement as a socio-political and democratic entry point to artwork, dissolving boundaries that attempt to compartmentalize our experience of the world and transforming the exhibition from an inanimate object-to-be-seen into an ever-changing entity to be experienced with our bodies and all our senses.

A Leaf Shapes the Eye is Daniel Steegmann Mangrané’s first retrospective and brings together works that span twenty-five years. A choreography between space, light, objects, and people, the exhibition is an invitation to engage physically, sensorially and intellectually, and reshape our relationship with nature.

Daniel Steegmann Mangrané (Barcelona, Spain, 1977) now lives and works in Rio de Janeiro. He is part of the generation of artists that began their production at the beginning of this century. The artists’ varied techniques and media include film, sound, drawing, kaleidoscopic collages, photography, sculpture and gardens. Nature is a constant in his work, which explores the contamination and affinity of forms that exist between nature, art and architecture. Concerned with the global ecological crisis, he believes that any change in the natural environment also modifies our own nature. Both in his sculptures, which are extremely fragile and incorporate altered organic material, and in his filmic work, the artist experiments with the correspondences between organic and geometric forms, and with the complex network of dependencies between natural order and the order created by human beings.

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