adrián navarro

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Sphere #1, 2009. Oil and acrylic on canvas. 200x200 cm

Sphere #2, 2009. Oil and acrylic on canvas. 200x200 cm

Sphere #3, 2009. Oil and acrylic on canvas. 200x200 cm

Implosion. Installation view. Threadneedle Street Art Space. London, 2009

Implosion. Installation view. Threadneedle Street Art Space. London, 2009

Waterfall, 2009. Oil and acrylic on canvas. 160x90 cm


Implosion. Installation view. Threadneedle Street Art Space. London, 2009


Interzone, 2009. Oil and acrylic on canvas. 185x300 cm

Garden, 2009. Oil and acrylic on canvas. 1320x210 cm

Breixo Viejo:  Right now you’re working on two sets of works. On the one hand, pictures in which the images appear framed in an oval; on the other, a series of four paintings of spheres.

Adrian Navarro:  Both sets are the main feature of my most recent exhibition, which I call ‘Implosion’. The satisfaction of these works arises from finding a pictorial space that is independent from the orthogonal architecture of painting.  In the Ovals, the observer maintains a cinemascopic experience with the work, through the presence of the frame which, instead of being rectangular, is curved. I’m interested in maximising the vision from afar of the picture, reaffirming the illusory condition of painting. However, the function of these frames or windows is to precipitate the observer’s vision into the pictorial space, absorbing and channelling it towards the interior of the picture.

The Spheres are a step closer to the three-dimensional experience. The painting is trapped inside a virtual container: a weightless, spherical volume. The distance between the observer and the work becomes irretrievable, in other words, the observer remains literally outside the realm of the painting. Perhaps in a slightly ironic way. After all, what is the pictorial space like? It’s a sphere. Observing the world is a circular experience…

BV: And producing a painting is a process similar to observing the world. Your Spheres project out of the painting via the optical effect which the geometric figure itself generates. I’m convinced that, when they’re on show to the public, people will go up to the painting to see if you have cambered the canvas. But they also present an image seen from behind the eye. The eye is like a sphere which, for a short moment, serves to contain the image of the world.  

AN: The sphere serves as a container and a filter through which you can make out what’s happening inside. It’s a way of showing that the intimacy degree of a painting is relative, that there is always an observer, someone alien to the reality it represents, who looks from afar. Sphere 01 came to me when I decided to encapsulate the painting and render visible the container of this illusion.Taking a step back, looking from afar, in order to observe the nature of the absolute pictorial space. The observer remains completely outside the painting; I let him glimpse through at what’s happening inside the painting, so that he understands that it’s an illusion. In order to incorporate the observer within the painting, this enigmatic place, I have to expel him first.
BV: Sphere 02 operates in different ways: in the first place, it creates an optical illusion of depth; in the second place, it represents an internal explosion of colour at close proximity; and in the third place, it enshrouds the immediacy of this movement with a white filter, which in turn creates distance between the observer and the colour. You create three directions in the painting for the eye of the observer, who looks round the painting as if it were a sculptural space.
AN: In Sphere 02 the container is covered by a latticework of circles allowing you to glimpse through and make out what’s inside. This internal explosion of colours which you mention is related to research that I’ve been carrying out in parallel, based on installations with strips of cloth suspended from the ceiling of my studio. 
BV: …a world inhabited by strips of colour and arabesques moving freely between the paintings.
AN: I’m interested in the experience of observing the colours, textures and prints on the strips of cloth floating weightlessly in space. The arabesque formed by the strips of cloth functions as a reference point and creates a rhythmic structure in the montage of the installation. In seeking the same effect, I’ve transferred this structure into the painting by means of digital screen-printing. In the same way, the installation which I did in Utrophia Space, London, along with the experimental theatre artist Miguel Guzmán, turned out to be very interesting. The idea was to generate, through improvisation, a character to inhabit these strips of colour. I realized that in the end, his movements and gestures worked in a similar way to my movements and my gestures in the painting. And that Alma, his alter ego, was the analogous character inhabiting my sphere, from which he’ll never be able to escape. 
BV: This impossibility of escape is reminiscent of the claustrophobic spaces of film-makers such as Jancsó or Kubrick, who have also researched the expressive power of white.
AN: The idea of overlaying the painting with this flickering halo arises from prior work, such as White Light (2007), which was literally bathed in a series of swirls of white paint. As a next step, in 2008 I did a painting which I called White Light (Sphere), where I fragmented the light into a series of points that suggested the shape of a sphere. Producing Spheres as a series has arisen from this...

PAINTING BEYOND PAINTING. A conversation between Breixo Viejo and Adrián Navarro