The free-standing painted steel sculpture combines shapes that were first conceived in the context of a site-specific project Daniel Steegmann Mangrané developed for the 9th Bienal do Mercosul in Porto Alegre, 2013. The artist had observed the repetitive actions of workers, relaxing at the industrial sites of the naval yards in Rio Grande and from this experience extrapolated a formal equivalent. Movable magnets with slender rods made from acrylic add a linear connection between the steel elements.
Steegmann Mangrané had been one of the artist invited to work with companies that both dealt with high end technologies and the transformation of natural resources. The sculpture was developed during visits to the city's naval yards operated by the Brazilian energy company Petrobras. Steegmann Mangrané observed the flow of workers at the massive industrial production site and the movements of their time spent during breaks. Since there were no predetermined walkways, the workers found their own paths across the terrain.
Observing the stream of thousands of workers arriving from all over Latin America, watching closely their conditions, taking in the aesthetics of the site and of its materials, and, finally, experiencing the physical sensation from the noise and vibrations produced by the machines working 24 hours, 7 days a week, the artist created an atmospheric representation in response to his experience at the shipyards.
The title of the work, "Upsilon", refers to the letter associated with the Greek philosopher Pythagoras, for whom it is said to have signified the forking path of virtue or vice.