adrián navarro

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The Rings series are reflections in its two meanings —i.e., mental and optic or physical.

Adrián Navarro puts in front of us a clear equivocation of figure and ground.   The classic geometry of the torus is carved as relief with precise ambivalence —sometimes the circular holes are opaque, sometimes transparent— revealing their painted matter.

Ring #14, 2011. Oil and acrylic on canvas. 232x185 cm

These volumes are intermittently altering their own figure-ground revealing technique: they are themselves defined against a veiled ground of formless paint; the ring is self-contained and contain figures within it, and is the ground to its own figures as well. Yes, it’s complicated.

What Navarro is presenting here is the Battle of the Paintings that has been taking place at his studio for the last half decade, three centuries after The Battle of the Books at the King’s Library —both in London. What Jonathan Swift satirized in 1704, was the quarrel of the Ancients and the Moderns.
The beehive and the spiderweb were the metaphors of that day. Today, the battle is that between: abstraction and figuration, craft and design, the eye and the hand, movement and confinement, and ultimately between totality and infinity. The work of Emmanuel Levinas of 1969 (Totality and Infinity: An Essay on Exteriority) finds in these series —and in the gallery as battleground— its best pictorial equivalent
This is thus the space of epic, of heroic confrontation, but it is not a narrative space. The variations within the series speak of self-absorbed movement: by using the language of that which was accused to kill painting —i.e., photography— Navarro is rhyming the works of Muybridge and Marey in the series. They present the endless rotation of the struggle between opposites, a messianic synthesis about to happen —anticlimactic epic painting.

Eduardo Vivanco— Adrián Navarro: Reflections—Maerz Contemporary. Berlin, 2012

Ring #6, 2011. Oil and acrylic on canvas. 200x200 cm

In & Out show. Installation view.
Hammerson Art Space. London, 2011

Ring #1, 2010. Oil and acrylic on canvas. 200x200 cm

In & Out show. Installation view.
Hammerson Art Space. London, 2011