QAlmost invisible for being so delicate, Marco Maggi's interventions at the Brazilian Museum of Sculpture have an impressive visual force and poetic power. Contrary to what often happens nowadays, where works seem to scream to attract the public, Maggi's small constructions only whisper and gently invite our attention.

The unsuspecting visitor, who comes across dozens of reams of paper of the same height (always 500 sheets, A4 size), neatly arranged on the floor, will be intrigued at the entrance. Only gradually will you realize the difference between seemingly similar things. The stacks are identical and seemingly banal. But in addition to regularity, they serve as support – as if they were pedestals – for crisp, vibrant landscapes, formed by small cuts, folds, delicacies, such as extremely thin arches that broke free from their place of origin to launch themselves into space.

THESIS, 2016

It takes time to heed the invitation of close observation. The same slowing down of pace and the same back and forth movement is required in the other works in this small but potent anthology. All of them deal with what curator Cauê Alves defined as the “materiality of the idea”. Issues such as scale, depth, contrast between light and shadow are part of Maggi's repertoire. Two aspects, however, draw special attention in this show: the thought-provoking dialogue created with architecture, emphasized by its relationship with the concise museum made by Paulo Mendes da Rocha, and the game he proposes with scales and invisibilities.

The Uruguayan artist's delicate hand, attentive eye and precise gesture make banal elements such as blank paper or colored envelopes acquire power in space. Many of Maggi's constructions resemble models. They look like utopian projects of urban plans seen from above. Faced with “Assunto Pending”, a work composed of two cascading rolls, with more than a thousand yellow labels, which serve as support for interventions with tiny pieces of self-adhesive paper in white, gray and black, we are in doubt if we are facing a abstract game, of internal boards of a strange computer or of aerial plans of a fictional city. “Thesis” also has this unsettling effect. By gluing on a simple ping-pong ball a suggestive weave of regular patterns that point to a utopian futurism as well as an archaeological abstraction, Maggi contrasts different imaginaries and gives the minimal sphere a planetary power.

the strength of delicacy
At the entrance dozens of reams of paper of the same height (Always 500 Sheets, Size a4)

A master of contraposition – whether between idea and gesture, past and future, the tiny and the immensely large – Maggi creates in this exhibition a profoundly instigating contrast between two ways of seeing her own work. In two close but opposite corners of the exhibition space, two intimately connected works were arranged. In the first one, the visitor is surprised by a video entitled “Language in Residence”, filmed on the occasion of the artist's participation as Uruguayan representative at the 56th Venice Biennale. In the work, done in partnership with Maria Ines Arrillaga, we see a succession of visitors in an exhibition space. They enter, look, talk, make records, approach and move away with a face that is sometimes perplexed, sometimes delighted. Nothing surprising if it weren't for the fact that we, viewers of the video, only see a white wall. Maggi's work simply disappears into the video, such is its delicacy and ability to reveal itself only gradually, within a physical, epidermal intimacy.

On the opposite corner, the visitor finally discovers what the video, or rather the distance from the shot, was “kind enough to erase”, as the artist says. Thousands of carefully and carefully cut pieces of paper rest on the wall, making up small niches, contaminating surfaces with their softness. It is a close-up, formed by a succession of small games, metaphors and seductive balances, such as the small paper hook that holds a very thin hoop, which dances in space like a small Calder mobile, projecting its distorted shadow over the wall. Entitled “Global Myopia (paragraph in the corner)”, the work (which derives from the installation made for Venice), works as a subtle calligraphy, which demands delivery, which intrigues and at the same time seduces our increasingly myopic gaze.

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