Iván Navarro is returning to Belgium with Constellations of Fate, a series of light sculptures and a previously unseen immersive installation. With this new exhibition, Iván Navarro is diving deeper into his exploration of the dichotomy between humans and machines. For the first time his practice interweaves electric light, his preferred medium, with painting, a technique he has barely dipped into until now.
Born in 1972 in Chile, a few months after the coup d'état, Iván Navarro grew up under the Pinochet dictatorship before emigrating to New York in 1997. Fascinated by the codes of American minimalism and design, he began to build electric sculptures deeply impacted by the experience of his youth and his political commitment. Over the years he has developed an original and critical body of work combining language, optical illusion and light effects.
When visitors cross the threshold of the gallery they are immediately whisked away on a journey to the stars with a succession of constellations, nebulas and eclipses of every sort. Navarro adopted an almost cathartic process, manually engraving then painting the inside of mirrors without their silvering with thousands of brightly coloured flashes which transform the LED light into celestial phenomena. This quest for transcendence has been at the heart of his artistic investigations since the start of the pandemic. In March 2020, forced into total isolation like the rest of the world, he turned to painting.
After so many years playing with mirrors and neon lights and their perfectly delineated shapes, he took up the paint brush to experiment with all the possibilities it offers. He contrasts the manufactured object with the arbitrary nature of the act, the uniqueness of the stroke, the fragility of the being.
The astral voyage offered by the exhibition concludes with a new installation. Hand-painted constellations are scattered across the walls of the narrow room plunged into darkness. A glitter ball sculpted in the shape of planet earth spins slowly. "When we observe the stars, we get to brush against the deepest secrets of the universe," the artist explains. Both sublime and faintly unsettling, these imaginary maps question our anthropocentrism, asking where the origin of our civilisations lies, where we think the place of human beings should be in a constantly expanding universe.