Iván Navarro — Where is the Next War?
Where is the Next War?
Past: April 25 → June 1, 2013Entretien — Iván Navarro A l’occasion de l’exposition Where is the Next War ? d’Iván Navarro accueillie jusqu’au 1er juin à la galerie Templon, nous avons rencontré ce créateur constamment présenté comme descendant de l’Op Art, artiste minimaliste alors qu’il ne se reconnaît ni dans l’un ni dans l’autre de ces mouvements.
Chilean conceptual artist Iván Navarro is returning to Paris with a new project. A new series of the artist’s trompe-l’œil sculptures will be on show at Galerie Templon.
Iván Navarro uses light as his raw material, turning objects into electric sculptures and transforming the exhibition space by means of visual interplay. His work appropriates the icons of modernism as it deplores the risk of formalism that has been emptied of all forms of engagement. The act of usurping the minimalist aesthetic is an ever-present undercurrent, becoming the pretext for understated political and social criticism. Born in 1972 in Santiago, Iván Navarro grew up under the Pinochet dictatorship. He has been living in the USA since 1997. His work is certainly playful, but is also haunted by questions of power, control and imprisonment, both physical and psychological.
While the Grand Palais is devoting a major exhibition to the notions of space and vision in art, Iván Navarro is taking a close interest in German artist and the Op Art pioneer Josef Albers. Famed for his experiments with colour and abstraction and a professor at Bauhaus, he fled Nazi Germany and found refuge in the USA, where he taught at the celebrated Black Mountain College. Iván Navarro uses the title Enterrar y Callar (Bury Them and Keep Quiet) to set Josef Albers’ experience of staying silent on the subject of his exile and its context against the figure of Francisco de Goya, the first politically engaged artist, one of whose prints in The Disasters of War series gave the work its name.
Iván Navarro’s window-like light sculptures echo Albers’ Homage to the Square, subjecting the infinitely multiplied squares to an implacably programmed blinking. Various words emerge from each of the compositions: Amarga presencia (Bitter presence), No llegan a tiempo (They don’t arrive on time)… Language is the light-filled appearance of conscience, evoking a dual meaning, the sorrowful memory of the chasm between appearance and truth. Alongside this new series, the gallery is showing a work that uses the same minimal shapes to conjure up New York’s twin towers. The reflected neon lights recreate the height of the skyscrapers, taking them deep into the ground in “an anti-monument to the economic power of the USA, weighed down by its own social trauma,” as the artist explains.
Iván Navarro represented Chile at the 53rd Venice Biennale in 2009. His work has been shown worldwide, including at the Whitney Museum of American Art at Altria, New York (2006), Centro Cultural Museo del Barrio, New York (2007), MOCA, Miami (2007), La Caja de Burgos (2010), La Maison Rouge, Paris (Néons exhibition), La Fondazione Volume! in Rome and Miami’s Frost Art Museum in 2012. He is currently one of the featured artists at the Light Show exhibition running at London’s Hayward Gallery until April 28, 2013.
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