Iván Navarro (artist)

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Iván Navarro (born 1972 in Santiago, Chile) is an artist who works with light, mirrors, and neon to craft socially and politically relevant sculptures and installations.[1]

Life and work[edit]

Navarro was born and raised in Santiago, Chile, and the dictatorship of his homeland has had a profound impact on his work, both in his choice of medium, and in the meaning his neon sculptures and pieces of faux-furniture hold. As he grew up during the dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet, Navarro was used to electricity being shut off to keep citizens at home and isolated; “All the pieces that I’ve made make reference to controlling activity, and electricity was a way to control people.”[2]

An example of Navarro's work being steeped in his homeland's history while also speaking to current political debates, is his "You Sit, You Die," which consists of a lounge chair built from white fluorescent tubes. "'This is my version of the electric chair,' the artist explains. Electricity was one of the tools of torture preferred by the Chilean government, but the piece also has local currency. On the paper seat, he has written the names of every individual executed in Florida by electric chair, to bear witness to the state's record on capital punishment."[3]

Navarro also works with mirrors, alongside light, in which viewers lose themselves in an apparently infinite space, as neon phrases or structures loom out, and suggest what lies beyond. These abyss-like works can link back to Navarro's pre-occupation of being abducted as a child, as he navigates his past and readily admits: "There is a certain amount of fear in my pieces."[4]

Selected solo exhibitions[edit]

  • 2014 “Nacht und Nebel” Galerie Daniel Templon, Brussels
  • 2013 “Where is the Next War?,” Galerie Daniel Templon, Paris,
  • 2012 “Impenetrables, Art Kabinett,” Paul Kasmin Gallery, Art Basel, Miami
    • “Iván Navarro: Fluorescent Light Sculptures,” Frost Museum of Art, Miami
    • “Heaven or Las Vegas,” SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah, GA
    • “Nacht und Nebel,” Fondazione Volume!, Rome
  • 2011 “UNO Fence”, Prospect.2 at UNO Gallery, New Orleans
    • “The Armory Fence,” Paul Kasmin Gallery at the Armory Show, New York
    • “Heaven or Las Vegas,” Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York
  • 2010 “Tener Dolor en el Cuerpo de Otro,” Distrito 4, Madrid
    • “Tierra de Nadie,” Caja De Burgos, Burgos, Spain
    • “Missing,” Chambre Blanche, Manif d´art 5, Catastrophe?, Quebec, Canada
  • 2009 “Die,” Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York
    • “Nowhere Man,” Galerie Daniel Templon, Paris
    • “Threshold, 53rd Biennale di Venezia”, Chilean Pavilion, Venice
    • “Nowhere Man,” Contemporary Art Center Towner, Eastbourne, UK

Selected collections[edit]

  • Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC
  • Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA
  • Fonds National d’Art Contemporain, Paris
  • Towner Contemporary Art Museum, Eastbourne, UK
  • LVMH Collection, Paris
  • Saatchi Collection, London
  • Martin Z. Margulies Warehouse, Miami
  • Centro Galego de Arte Contemporanea, Santiago de Compostela, Spain
  • Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York
  • Vanhaerents Art Collection, Brussels[5]