Ivan Navarro

Ivan Navarro (Chilean, b. 1972) is a world-renowned sculptor, celebrated for his innovative use of neon light to create thought-provoking pieces. Born in Santiago, Chile, Navarro’s early life was marked by the political turmoil and corruption that plagued his homeland. This environment profoundly influenced his artistic vision and thematic focus.

Navarro pursued his passion for art at the University of Chile in Santiago, where he earned a BA in Fine Arts. Growing up amidst the oppressive political climate, where many dissidents vanished without a trace, Navarro developed a deep-seated fear of disappearing, which later became a recurring theme in his work.

Navarro’s work is characterized by his use of everyday objects like shopping carts, ladders, doors, and chairs, transformed through the medium of cold neon light. One of his most notable pieces, Red and Blue Electric Chair, reimagines a common chair using purple neon tubes, giving it both an inviting and unsettling aura.

Another significant work, You Sit, You Die, is Navarro’s take on the electric chair. Constructed from white fluorescent lights, this piece not only references the Chilean government’s use of electricity as a method of torture but also includes the names of individuals executed by electric chair in Florida. The chair’s joints are tied together with shoelaces, symbolizing the items confiscated from prisoners to prevent suicide.

Navarro’s sculptures often start with bright colors and familiar shapes, making them appear playful at first glance. However, a closer look reveals deeper layers of psychological anxiety and commentary on human rights issues. For instance, in his unfinished series The Edge, Navarro uses the simplicity of a door to create an illusion of an endless portal through neon reflections, symbolizing the unending search for truth and hope.

Navarro’s compelling works have been showcased in prestigious galleries and museums worldwide, including:

  • The North Dakota Museum of Modern Art in Grand Forks
  • The Millennium Museum in Beijing, China
  • The Archill Gallery in Auckland, New Zealand
  • The 27/7 Gallery in London, England

His art continues to captivate audiences, shedding light on critical social and political issues through the medium of neon.

End, 2017