Opening: Thursday November 18th at 8pm.
Light, form, heat
“Whom would we say doesn´t have our concept of pain? I could suppose that he doesn´t know what pain is, but I want to suppose that he does, and with this, he issues words of ache and that you could teach him words like “I am in pain” Would he also have to be able to remember his pain?- Would he have to recognize in others, expressions of pain? Would he have to show mercy? Would he have to understand the imitation of pain?” The nine sculptures of Iván Navarro (Santiago de Chile, 1972) are structured from observations like the one we have just read from the “Observations on colours” of Wittgenstein.
Where there is a lit word that aches we find Ivan Navarro´s profile. We could describe him within a plastic song writer profile, because words are at the tip of the lips of his works. Among his recent exhibitions we should mention his participation in the past edition of the Venetian Biennale, the solo exhibition of Nowhere Man in Towner Gallery (United Kingdom) and in Templon Gallery in Paris. Before his present works at Distrito 4 with the show Having Pain in Someone Else´s Body, we should also mention, No Man´s Land in the CAB of Burgos. Through these titles, including the present exhibition title in Distrito 4, words appear like the corporal essence of his work. The illusion originates from the vindication of the aim of his sculptures, in the battle in favor of a reality where language is the vessel carrier of ideas. Some carry string instruments in their case over their shoulder, others express themselves through their voices, Iván Navarro does it through wells of reflecting light.
The artist refers to man from different points of view (we should recall prior works like the illuminated chairs and lamps of phosphorescent heat); it makes reference to determined parts of his body, to Víctor Jara (Chilenian Stadium 1973). Navarro comes close to language understood as a wakeup call to our conscience, as a last means to be free. Words are the modeled material in each one of his vessels of pain, memory and life. Navarro´s history is implicit in his works, the sentiment of fault inside oneself of another body (Chile, September 11th 1973). The survival of the missing and their ghosts.
The illuminated capital letters articulate the gallery. On one side, a series of drums, each one lined with mirrors, with words like KICK or HIT. Half of the words are written in neon, the other half is a result of an optical illusion, reflected by displaying the lit letters on the work´s mirrors. The questions that are thrown by his sculptures lead us to think that the place of the word is its meaning, the meaning that for each man possesses a term. In words of Ivan Navarro: “My purpose working with these texts in neon is to investigate one aspect of language that many times is not consciously perceived by the reader. This means also understanding a text as an image. I believe that a type of typography or design that we find in a text or word can change the meaning of the word in question. I am interested in working with the visual contamination of the written word and its meaning”. His words fill the depth of his hollow stands (fluorescent memorial tablets, without flowers), he knows that the depth of his words is supported.
The images that we now observe lead us to think about words. This way, instead of singing with a guitar, Navarro writes his message in a silence code that is understood to who knows how to appreciate his works as something opposite from random. The military music is maintained in silence in each one of the drums, sound strengthens the contained words, ODIO (hate), OCIO (waste of time), ECO (echo). Silence is the musical instrument that accompanies his protest message against the weight of others pain in oneself.
On the other hand, we find words like OIDO (ear), CODO (elbow), DEDO (finger), inscribed also in neon bars of light, on crystal, inside three brick and cement wells. Light and heat, color and cylindrical forms evoke black, dark wells.
The words seem like they part away from our sight like echo, but we can still see them and the syllables don´t disappear, they are reflected into infinity. Iván Navarro uses materials from advertisement signs, night parties and electronic equipments, (neon) to send out the word. Blas de Otero said “I still have words”. Pablo Neruda said “Everything calls out to me to speak”. The head piece of the exhibition is “Un Monumento Perdido de Washington, DC o Propuesta de Monumento para Victor Jara”. This video that reproduces a poem that was sang by the Chilean song writer, poem that is was savagely ended “ What I see never saw/ what I have felt and what I feel/ will make the moment arise”.
The electricity, heat and light are presented in his works like a cold social welfare that not everyone has access to. Light is by default an element, a metaphor of heat and joy. The critic turns bitter from the moment that tragedy disguises brilliant and hidden. The clear conceptual lines, formal and aesthetic go through each of his pieces. He is implicated social and politically in his country´s memory, from our day to day context his words scratch the spectator: the representation space of language has been frozen aiming to not forget our human condition. When we hear him sing, words become heavy again.