Paul Kasmin Gallery’s Tenth Avenue space is currently hosting Mute Parade, an exhibit of light installations by Chilean-born artist Iván Navarro, for his second solo show with the gallery. Mute Parade transforms multiple gallery rooms into a synesthetic environment continuing Navarro’s ongoing use of light, sound, and language to engage with issues of power, migration, and propaganda.
Upon entering the gallery, the viewer is faced with a series of new works by the artist including Tuning (2015), a pyramid of six towering drums.
Navarro combines the drums with mirrors and the words High, Tone, Tune, Bass, Mute, and Deaf to create a visual representation idea of sound (or noise) while at the same time removing and negating the original function of the instruments. This is a way of “playing a song” without making any sound.
In the center of the adjacent room, there are two freestanding 6-foot diameter drums that incorporate neon, LED lights, mirrors, and electricity. Circular texts written in light repeat the words KickBack and KnockKnockKnock – giving the appearance of an endless loop. Throughout the exhibition, the new works employ silence and stillness to create an uncanny perception of sound and movement and to explore the relationship between seeing and hearing.
In the last room gallery, the viewer enters a labyrinth of four 6 x 6 foot structures that together make up the Impenetrable Room (2016). This new body of work co-opts the materials and format of portable “road cases,” which are customarily used to transport and protect musical instruments. Refitting the cases with mirrors and neon light, Navarro transforms these static objects into deep spaces that appear to recede towards infinity.
In this installation, undulating lines of green neon diagrammatically echo the propagation of sound waves through a medium. Silent and monolithic, these self-contained rooms resonate with unspoken narrative power.
Black and white paper squares are scattered across the floors of both galleries. The words Read You and Loud Unclear, printed on opposite sides of the cards, call attention to the disjunction between the visual and auditory aspects of communication. Informed by the aesthetics and rhythms of military parades, the exhibition contemplates the juxtaposed feelings of celebration and intimidation that martial music is intended to create.
Iván Navarro’s Mute Parade will be on Exhibit Through December 23rd, 2016 at Paul Kasmin Gallery, located at 293 Tenth Avenue (Corner of 27th Street) in the Chelsea Gallery District.