Rio de Janeiro

Marcius Galan, Precision Tool, 2017, iron, wood, automotive paint, 78 3/4 x 63 x 59".

Marcius Galan, Precision Tool, 2017, iron, wood, automotive paint, 78 3/4 x 63 x 59".

Marcius Galan

Marcius Galan, Precision Tool, 2017, iron, wood, automotive paint, 78 3/4 x 63 x 59".

Martelinho de ouro” (Golden Hammer), the title of Marcius Galan’s recent exhibition, refers to a technique for repairing dented cars using tools specially designed to smoothly apply pressure to the damaged part of the chassis. Here, the artist’s interventions sometimes seemed more invasive than that phrase would imply: He’d ripped apart a wall in spots, leaving in view the underlying metal studs. The 2017 work that gave the show its title was a wooden panel covered in white automotive paint with an iron bar jammed through it. In several works, iron was cut and folded, leaping through space. In other works, concentric drawings or half-moon illustrations resulted from the action of iron on wood—gestures of measuring and drawing.

Galan’s work addresses two references of great importance to his generation of artists in Brazil: Neo-Concretism and Minimalism—two ways in which earlier trends in Non-Objectivism and abstraction were assimilated by the artists of the 1950s and 1960s and that remain relevant today. Thus, his work arises from the meeting of two- and three-dimensional elements, conceptualized as a drawing. There is the presence of an abrupt and repetitive gesture—tearing the plane, literally—that evokes the notions of vestige and residuum. For Galan, drawing is the space between action and its final result. It emerges in an atmosphere that oscillates between ruin and chaos, between order and predetermination. In that fraught atmosphere there is something dirty, imperfect, out of order, but not improvised. Galan’s calculated gestures afford him a method of drawing all his own. He seems most interested in the remainder of a passage, its track. All of his works have the sensation of noise, something like metal scraping against the surface of a car. Breaking through small portions of gallery wall to allow the iron to become visible, in some instances, resulted in punctures framed by a glass structure that ironically imparted to this destructive gesture the imprimatur of fine art.

In the universe of Galan’s drawings, the line—the element that by nature defines that medium—is at the same time a mark on a surface and the opening of a gap in a wall, or perhaps the diagonal division of the plane of a wooden surface by a piece of iron, and thus reveals an ambiguity between organization and disorder. His line scratches the surface, leaving an indelible mark. Galan’s drawing is therefore noisy, persistent, and urgent, merging with a world governed by the dynamics of imprecision and violence.

Felipe Scovino

Translated from Portuguese by Clifford E. Landers.