Marco Maggi: Tiny Tyrannies

For more than two decades, the Uruguayan artist Marco Maggi — known for his virtuoso drawings and conceptually driven installations — has considered, then elegantly answered, the question of how to take drawing from two into three dimensions. Using his abstracted lexicon, he has drawn in relief on aluminum foil, carved everyday objects like rulers or apples, and inscribed plexiglass to create drawings that are only visible when they cast a shadow. And since he represented Uruguay in their pavilion at the 2015 Venice Biennale, his vocabulary has included the tiniest hand-cut paper shapes that cluster, fold, curl, stack and bend — encrusting “drawings” on paper as well as unexpected surfaces… even the very walls of the gallery.

Maggi’s shapes suggest meaning — alphabets of unknown languages, computer circuitry, Google Earth imaging of vaguely familiar cities — but no matter how much you puzzle over them, the forms are ultimately inexplicable.

Viewers are compelled to move close, slow down, stand on tiptoe, look obliquely, even crawl on the ground in an effort to make sense of these encryptions. And in so doing, they physically act out Maggi’s metaphor for understanding: one must alter one’s perspective — see things from another point-of-view — in order to find deeper meaning in this world.

While Maggi’s visual vocabulary evades certitude, the titles of his exhibitions and individual works — referring to technology, geopolitics and cultural history — offer clues to his concerns and are as witty and loaded with meaning as his drawings are confounding. He is a philosopher-poet of non-representational drawing. The title of this, his ninth solo exhibition with Hosfelt Gallery, alludes to the minuscule things — be they viruses or fractions of percentage points in interest rates — that have tremendous impact on our lives.

Born in Montevideo in 1957, Marco Maggi divides his time between New York and Uruguay. His work has been collected by numerous museums, including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Art Institute of Chicago; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington DC; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco; Museo de Arte Contemporaneo, São Paulo; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; as well as by major private collections including the Cisneros Collection, New York and the Daros Foundation, Zurich. He has been represented by Hosfelt Gallery since 1999.