A resident of New York for over 20 years, Iván Navarro's works are political, informed by art history, design and architecture as well as his personal experience of American society and the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile. His new work takes the notion of utopia and its subsequent commodification as its starting point. Prostutopia questions the distorting spectacle of utopia dressed up, marketed and denatured.
In the half-light, electric sculptures create an interplay of light and optical illusions that transform the space. These subverted everyday objects – a fence, two vanity mirrors, a ladder, a book, a three-tiered podium, a booth – while immediately playful and appealing, take us on a journey haunted by the issue of control and freedom. Each object becomes an instrument of control and surveillance. In a world where everyone is constantly watcher and watched, the artist's luminous Totem with its minimalist aesthetic becomes a watchtower. Iván Navarro questions the illusion of protection and connection which nourishes the ambivalent power of the political, economic and social bodies doing the watching – government, businesses and social media.
On the opening evening, the exhibition will include a performance piece entitled Sirens, conceived in collaboration with artist Courtney Smith, where three volunteer participants each occupy one of the three podiums. Periodically prompted to shift postures and explore the possible uses of the object to the body, they are free to move and speak and interact; yet strictly confined to their individual stations.