We recently met Ivan Navarro at a couple of end-of-year graduation parties and learned that he is an artist who creates fluorescent light sculptures. After looking up his work, I was excited to see that I recognized some of it from this year’s Armory Show (the Armory Fence) as well as having seen some pieces online. I love all of it.
Originally from Chile, Navarro’s work Threshold was presented in the Chilean Pavilion at the 2009 Venice Biennale, consisting of three separate pieces: ‘Resistance’ (the chair attached to a bicycle which illuminates by pedaling the bike); ‘Death Row’ (thirteen doorways with colored neon lights inside repeated or reflected to give an endless appearance); and ‘Bed’ (the circular sculpture with half the word ‘bed’ in neon and reflected to create the full letters as well as repeated to create an infinite tunnel effect.)
This past March, Ivan Navarro had a show at the Paul Kasmin gallery in NYC called “Heaven or Las Vegas” where the light structures were based on the footprint of famous skyscrapers, including the twin towers creating a moving negative effect as infinite holes in the floor. (See video of exhibit below.)
There is an underlying social and political commentary present in Navarro’s work – from capital punishment, and homelessness, to the reign of Pinochet, torture, and more – that makes these sculptures as meaningful as they are beautiful.
From top to bottom, left to right: Homeless Lamp, the Juice Sucker (top two photos); You Sit You Die; Resistance (two photos); Backstage; White Electric Chair; Nowhere Man X; Wail; Death Row; Kick; Bed; Victor; No Dunking; Chair from Concentration Camp.
Ivan Navarro currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.