In contemporary art, we often find ourselves looking for a word to describe or define something that escapes us. The production of Marcius Galan (Indianapolis, 1972) can place us in this place of doubt and aphasia: how to call the artist's architectural interventions, name the subversion in the use of materials, or even classify the almost mathematical approach and method present in part of Your jobs? Through silent or minimal gestures, Galan creates powerful objects, installations, videos and interventions capable of disconcerting and turning upside down the way we look and perceive things, disturbing the watertight structures that make up our surroundings. This small cognitive “breakdown” that the works cause ends up revealing tensions and friction that would probably go unnoticed, thus opening up new fields of understanding of the world.
Check below the interview conducted by ARTEQUEACONTECE with Galan about his training in arts, his creative process and his relationship with the materials he works with!
Julia Lima: Why did you decide to study art at FAAP in the 90's? Did you study in childhood, did your family encourage you? Formal education is considered by some to be a “safe” gateway to “becoming” an artist. Was it already what you wanted at that time?
Marcius Galan: I spent my childhood and adolescence in Bauru, in the interior of São Paulo. It was, and still is, a city completely out of the arts circuit, like most cities in the interior. And little was happening in terms of the visual arts. My father painted in his spare time – he was a professor at USP, in the faculty of dentistry. I enjoyed seeing her activity, but I never imagined pursuing a career in art. For him and for everyone I knew, anyone who was good at drawing had to publicize it. That's what I ended up doing. But luckily in the second option I chose Visual Arts (Bachelor). And I passed the second option at Federal do Rio. I attended very little for a semester and started taking theater classes in Rio. Afterwards, some friends from Bauru were coming to SP to set up a republic, that's when I got excited to apply to FAAP. At first I had no pretensions to being an artist, it was something completely distant; I had a very limited repertoire, no familiarity with what was going on in the art world. In the middle of the course, I switched to Industrial Design and then, advised by some professors, I returned to the arts course. I was prowling around the arts but didn't have the courage to throw myself. It was in Dora Longo Bahia's classes that I really became completely seduced by the production of contemporary art. I started to produce some work and I took it very seriously, her criticism had a lot of weight for me and she was very strict. It was a very good class.
Then came the first salons, prizes for young artists and soon after leaving FAAP we formed a kind of atelier/school in Barra Funda, which some called escolinha and others called the 3rd floor. There were courses by Eduardo Brandão and Dora Longo Bahia, as well as a few more temporary courses and some studio rooms for artists who received guidance from them at the weekend. It was an unbelievable environment, there were friends, discussions, parties, film sessions, artists and critics from different areas who came to visit us and that was essential for my education. Also, I felt very safe having a high-level critical discussion about the works before presenting them out there in the real world. That was in 1997, the year I graduated. I stayed there for about 2 years, and I felt the need to be alone after that intense time. But the group continued.
JL: His works seem primarily conceptual to me, because they are supported by countless supports – drawing, sculpture, installation, architecture, object, text, video, even contracts; there is no exclusive adherence to any technique or material. And neither is there a single subject, an obsession. How, then, does the work begin? Does a previous work spark the next one, or do you have ideas that you accumulate and then choose to develop?
MG: I don't like to think of my work as conceptual. Despite having this nomadic characteristic thinking about the means and materials used, I think that for me things start from a relationship of contact, friction, which are often in the materials themselves, or in architecture, or in the recognition of the function of materials. The concept comes during the process, in a tortuous path that is informed over time. It's not about having an idea and thinking about a support, my process is very strange – even today I think it's strange, because I see something or draw something that interests me and I have no idea where it will lead. I draw, I paint, I film, I ruin a lot of things, I wake up at night to draw something I dreamed of, then I erase it in the morning. I have fun and I suffer in the same amount… I think I suffer a little more than I have fun. But it is clear that a set of works informs others, you build a body that starts to carry weight, complexity; and I feel that I have to take responsibility for this body. I can't think of a job that doesn't have any relationship with the other things I've done.
JL: Is your “drawer” of unrealized projects always full? How is your production process? Are there multiple parallel accomplishments or do you need to focus on each project exclusively? I know that many times you are not the one who carries out the work with your own hands, so how is this relationship between the process and doing?
MG: I don't have many projects in the drawer. Every time I start thinking about an exhibition or I am called for a new project, I start a new story. Even if I repeat works or ideas, I like to think about how this set of works will be associated with space and context. About the production process, yes, I do a lot of things at the same time for a while and then I spend a period doing nothing, or just drawing, reading, listening to music, watering the plants. I have many works that are done by other people, and some only I can do. I like being close to those who produce, because people's experience with the material often brings me new possibilities. My design can be changed almost always during the process, I'm not strict with the design, I like to incorporate chance.