press release

Navarro creates structurally complex and visually arresting sculptures out of fluorescent and incandescent light. Using the actual lighting fixtures as a basic building material, he ingeniously crafts radiant objects, which are at once functional, everyday objects and highly unique artistic inventions. The artist plays with the immediate reference to modern formalism, yet subverting its purity with his baroque interpretations of the mundane and his sharp political subtext. While Navarro uses fluorescent light, a consecrated material of minimalist art, he works it far beyond its mere formal possibilities: maximizing its physical attributes of luminosity and heat in the form of a utilitarian object - such as a lamp, a chair, or a table - in order to convey deep social and psychological meaning.

Navarro’s work Flashlight (2006) consists of a wheelbarrow made of fluorescent lights and a video-clip projection of the sculpture in performance. In the video, we see a solitary character wheeling his cart along desolate train tracks, and periodically stopping to change the color of the cart’s lights. The action is set to the song “No soy de aquí, no soy de allá” (originally interpreted by Julio Iglesias), which also tells the story of a resourceful drifter as he wanders the city. The piece, both melancholic and optimistic, evokes ideas of displacement and loss of identity alongside demonstrations of ingenious survival and regeneration.

Joy Division I and Joy Division II (2004/5) are two works which at first glance look mostly like modernist coffee tables, but are in fact a pulsating red swastika and a yellow Star of David, in reference to the Nazi’s brutal concentration camp brothels. The combination of beauty and danger is explicit in these pieces extreme furniture.

Each one of Navarro’s sculptures is marked by an emphatic color choice. A large-scale floor piece, Blade Runner III (2006), has the shape of the five intersecting Olympic rings, made of a chain of small spinning lamps. Here, the five colours of the Olympic rings appear one by one in the individual lamps, looping in a repetitive sequence. Each colour in the pattern refers back to the color of another sculpture, so that the five colours constantly rhyme within the space.

Using color as the primary identifying sign for each individual object, Navarro creates a complex chromatic interplay throughout the exhibition, while reflecting upon cultural significance in color conceptualization. Ivan Navarro lives and works in New York. Upcoming and recent exhibitions include: The Whitney Museum, New York; MOCA, Miami; Witte de With, Rotterdam. Roebling Hall, New York; Matucana 100, Santiago; Galerie Daniel Templon, Paris; Art Rock Rockefeller plaza, New York; Prague Biennale 2, Prague.


only in german

Iván Navarro
Ivan Navarro