Chilean-born artist Iván Navarro is internationally renowned for his socio-politically charged sculptures of neon, fluorescent and incandescent light. Navarro speaks at the Nasher in conjunction with the exhibition of his monumental work, This Land Is Your Land, at NorthPark Center in 2015.
The Nasher’s ongoing speaker series features conversations and lectures on the ever-expanding definition of sculpture and the minds behind some of the world’s most innovative artwork, architecture, and design.
Ivan Navarro’s This Land is Your Land features three elevated wooden water towers that, upon first glance, may appear to be traditional architectural structures. Upon closer encounter, visitors discover that each vessel contains a different neon word or image. Glowing from within, the words “ME/WE” and “BED,” along with an image of a ladder, are reflected endlessly, serving as a metaphor for the political and personal experience of immigration.
The artist takes the exhibition’s title from the beloved 1940 Woody Guthrie folk song, “This Land Is Your Land”, which is both an American anthem and a poignant description of the freedoms offered in this country for an immigrant population. For Iván Navarro, it represents the vast expanse of the American landscape and a democratic society pursued by millions of people.
Navarro states: “I like the idea of a reservoir of water. This simple and timeless wooden structure contains water—the most primitive and elemental resource, the essence of human sustenance, and a reminder of the basic condition that all humanity shares. We must guarantee our water in order to survive. In that sense the water tanks are containers of primordial knowledge. Their form and material are equally archaic: they are simple circular huts with conical roofs, made of wood. Across America, the water towers form changes – some top large buildings metaphorically functioning as tall ornamental crowns, others loom above towns like watchtowers due to their elevated position.”
Iván Navarro lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.
Support for the 360 series is underwritten in part by Sylvia Hougland, in honor of her husband, Curtis Hougland.
Supported in part by: City of Dallas, Office of Cultural Affairs