Marcus Manganni

September 24 - October 28, 2022
Brackett Creek Exhibitions, Chinatown, NY

Press Release

Brackett Creek Exhibitions is pleased to announce ALIVE ON ARRIVAL, a presentation of Marcus Manganni’s first large-scale indoor sculpture alongside a sculptural edition and framed collage works on paper.

“I was thinking about the concept of freedoms. Pre- and post-freedoms. The title, ALIVE ON ARRIVAL is both a reference to being born into social environments (pre-freedoms?) and their correlation to the constructs of american mass incarceration, as well as being alive on intake into the prison complex (post-freedoms?). The question is: Is there ever time outside the carceral nation?” - Marcus Manganni

Manganni’s practice began during two long stints in solitary confinement and suicide cells over the course of his incarceration. Marcus used carceral materials and commissary potato chip bags turned inside out to experiment with refracting a single sliver of natural light in his cell. He created sun maps and traced the way the light moved. As this light scattered and reacted to his intervention, this practice allowed Manganni to explore his physical and social isolation. Post-incarceration, Marcus began to create unique, site-specific, and ever-changing sculptures installed in accordance with seasonal sun patterns aimed to open the conversation about physical confinements of incarceration.

In ALIVE ON ARRIVAL, Manganni continues to use light as a sculptural means of exploring systems of hierarchy within our social and physical architectures. Indoors, light plays a new role. Overhead bright white lights recall the unrelenting overhead fluorescent lights in prison which are used as another form of subjugation. The refraction of natural light against the surrounding walls changes the room and sculpture throughout the day.

The sculpture, END TO END BURNERS, is a floor-to-ceiling chandelier constructed of 1,500 unique shivs of clear acrylic toothbrush heads and broken razor blades. The routine fabrication of each shiv recalls the day-to-day tedium of incarcerated life, but now serve as meditative repetitions in Manganni’s post-carceral life. Through the materials and a public display of the traditionally private production and ownership of a shiv, Manganni aims to address social inequalities, hierarchies, and systems of violence in a for-profit system of incarceration and the saving grace that creativity and art offer in these systems. The opulent chandelier becomes an act of subversion.

“The most difficult and urgent challenge today is that of creatively exploring new terrains of justice, where the prison no longer serves as our major anchor.” – Angela Davis

Marcus Manganni is a New York City-based artist and 2022 Right of Return Fellow. He has created several public art commissions confronting mass incarceration. His latest completion is Queens (A Love Letter), commissioned by The Foundry and installed parallel to the Queensborough Bridge.

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