PARIS.- Iván Navarro is presenting Fanfare, an immersive journey through previously unseen works exploring light, sound and language, confronting the viewer with issues of representation of power and sensorial perception. Connecting optical and audio effects, Iván Navarro plunges visitors into utter darkness, surrounded by neon and mirror sculptures that also appear as percussion instruments. With his new work, the artist probes the ambiguities of language and the social power of music.
At the center right of the soundless electronic percussion band, a double-sided bass drum uses light and mirrors to spell out an infinitely reflected onomatopoeic word, with a closely related onomatopoeia appearing on the reverse face of the drum like a distorted echo: Blow becomes Bomb in a dual ambivalence, both formal and linguistic. Slap, Slam, Bang and Beat, illuminated sounds that punctuate the visit, evoking celebration as well as guerrilla warfare, aggression as well as resistance. The work produces a visual representation of sound while simultaneously removing and negating the original function of the instruments; playing a song in the absence of sound. The inherent silence and stillness of these artworks creates an uncanny perception of audio and movement, exploring the relationship between sight and sound.
The polysemy of the word fanfare, encompassing the raucous joy of traditional songs as well as the rigor of military bands, finds an echo in the musical instruments that Navarro has subverted. Born in Chile during the Pinochet dictatorship, Navarro has endlessly examined issues of power and control, researching the way sound and language can serve as tools for political control, but equally for insurrection.
Also as part of this project Navarro presents a new series of sculptures called Cymbals Break, Crack, Crash, Crush Hit, Kick, Knock, Scratch and Smack - made of a round mirror with an etched word on its surface and an actual cymbal stand, that are part of a larger investigation that started with the piece Drums (2009), also presented in the small project room of the gallery.
The Music Room IV is part of an ongoing series of constructed environments for active listening, created in collaboration with artist Courtney Smith. Here, the artists have created a wooden fort-like sculpture whose latticed exterior is paneled with album covers from all over the world, each one a representation of revolutionary outcry. The other side of the sculpture reveals a dark, padded concavity for visitors to nestle and yield to the experience of listening. Speakers pipe music deep into the nook of the sculpture, creating a concentrated listening environment within, yet sheltered from, the visual cacophony of the musical light sculptures. The music played is the music seen, a continuous loop of songs of universal protest and celebration which in sum form a united voice of human resistance in the face of authoritarian oppression.
Iván Navarro represented Chile at the 53rd Venice Biennale (2009). The artist currently lives and works in Brooklyn. Recent solo and group exhibitions include Yinchuan Biennale, China (2016); Pommery Experience #13 Gigantesque! Reims (2016); Mute Parade, Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York (2016); Una Guerra Silenciosa e Imposible, CorpArtes Foundation, Santiago (2015); Under the Same Sun, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2014); South London Gallery, London (2016); Storylines, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2015); This Land is Your Land, Madison Square Park, New York; Nasher Museum of Art, Durham and North Park Center, Dallas (2014 - 2016); Where is the Next War?, Galerie Daniel Templon Paris (2013); Light Show, Hayward Gallery, London; Auckland Art Gallery, Auckland; Sharjah Art Foundation, Sharjah and CorpArtes, Santiago (2013 - 2016); Iván Navarro: Fluorescent Light Sculptures, Frost Museum of Art, Miami (2012); Nacht und Nebel, Fondazione VOLUME!, Rome, (2012); the Prospect.2 Biennial in New Orleans (2011); Heaven or Las Vegas, Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York (2010); HomeLessHome, Museum on the Seam, Jerusalem, (2010); Don Quijote, Witte de Witt, Rotterdam (2006) and Artificial Light, MOCA at Goldman Warehouse, Miami (2006).
His work is held in the public and private collections of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (New York), The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (Washington, DC), Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (Richmond, VA), The New York Public Library (New York); San Antonio Art Museum (Texas); Fonds National dArt Contemporain (Paris), CAB (Burgos), Towner Contemporary Art Museum, (Eastbourne, UK), LVMH Collection (Paris), Martin Z. Margulies Warehouse (Miami, FL), Fundación ARCO (Madrid), Vanhaerents Art Collection (Brussels), Borusan Contemporary Art Collection (Turkey) and Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (Santiago) among others.