Screenshot 2014-05-09 09.56.50

Artist: Marco Maggi

West vs. East
May 10 – June 28, 2014
Hosfelt Gallery
San Francisco, CA, USA

Uruguayan artist Marco Maggi fills more than 6,000 square feet of exhibition space with miniscule drawing and sculptures that are virtually invisible except for the shadows they cast. Glance around the exhibition and you’ll see little but vast white space. As you slow down and really look, you’ll discover astonishing density, precision, beauty and wisdom. With this warehouse-scaled, site-specific installation of inconspicuous objects, Maggi hopes to change your perspective, forcing you to examine what you think you know, and revealing it inadequate.

Marco Maggi is renowned for virtuoso drawing and innovative applications of common materials uncommonly used in art-making. His tightly-packed, inscriptive encryptions have been compared to microchips, satellite imagery and archaic alphabets. But there’s more to the work than technical skill and formal allure. Maggi continues to use blindness as a metaphor for our inability to digest the mass of information in the information age; our incapacity to see through the half-truths of mass media; our ineptitude at considering the perspective of ‘the other’; our incompetence at focus; and our unwillingness to take the time to learn.

Maggi’s art is awe-inspiring, but he makes you work for it. He compels you to move around until the light catches the glint of graphite or casts a shadow from a delicately carved slice of paper. He forces you to look obliquely at his tiny megalopolises, to gaze into security mirrors, even to crawl around on the floor. Having you physically change your position to decode his artwork is a metaphor for viewing the world from a different perspective – through someone else’s eyes – and, literally, someone else’s eyeglasses, in the case of one of the pieces in this exhibition. It’s only by changing your viewpoint that you gain insight.

The content and context of this exhibition are geopolitics. We read or see second, third or fourth-hand reports of events that don’t make sense, happening in places we’ve never been, between cultures we don’t understand. How can we begin to comprehend our world? Maggi says, “Focus is not the object or the subject, but the time between the object and the viewer. I am interested in the pace of the viewing process.” By slowing the viewer, Maggi hopes to evoke empathy and hence consciousness.

Born in Montevideo, Uruguay, Marco Maggi lives in New Paltz, New York. His work has been exhibited extensively throughout the United States, Europe, and Latin America since 1998. His work is in major public and private collections including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Guggenheim Museum, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Daros Collection, Zurich; Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Collection, New York; Museo de Arte Contemporaneo, Sao Paulo; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington DC; and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

*Marco Maggi, “Stacking Quotes”, 2014, Cut paper, bound notebooks, shelf