Bernardo Navarro: Vertigo in Entertainment.
By Ricardo Alberto Pérez
There are artists who in their obsession create a narrative capable of disturbing various types of viewers, subjective activity is open to interpretations that at some point seem antagonistic to each other, the tuning fork is usually wide with a wealth of textures supported by the chromatic touch, and its inexhaustible imagery when combining geometric impulses. His field of action is usually an ascending conduit from which these concerns are transformed into images and from a kind of abstract show transmit a renewed universe to his followers; Bernardo Navarro Tomas (Havana, 1977) is part of this pictorial family.
Now we are facing a new stage of his creation that is manifested in the Amusement Sites series, which constitutes an intense and provocative dialogue with an essentially transgressive and concrete tradition capable of opening up profoundly significant gaps in the panorama of art history. A path that goes from the Stijl movement, through the aesthetics of Sonia Delaunay, the Bahaus school (Paul Klee, Kandinsky, Erich Mrozek Josef Albers) to an artist as surprising as Frank Stella.
Navarro’s work allows the viewer to get a very particular idea of the use of color (colors) in the light of these times, in which «accumulated joy» translated into vitality will be a crucial element to feed the need to continue and the spirit of resistance not as an act of resignation, but as a strategy to build new alternatives.
To this poetics that has evolved under the multiple influences already mentioned, a greater challenge is imposed: we have been put to the test by abrupt circumstances that mean living on the edge, that is to say the pandemic resulting from the new coronavirus that has been hitting us for more than a year. How our aesthetic and human beliefs are left in the face of this panorama that, rather than constituting a transitory health mishap, represents an alert or alarm about our true fragility. How the artist can use this arsenal that makes up his fertile memory so that anguish and despair do not limit him in a path that he had already conceived.
Then the entertainment venues will be waiting for us, with the usual vertigo that relaxes us and helps us to get rid of tensions (roller coaster), but we will no longer be the same as always, we will surely feel how the value of these «entertainments» multiplies and this will be related to the lessons learned in this period lived in a totally atypical way.
In Amusement Sites (2020- 2021) I feel that childhood is recovered through memory and creation, bringing in itself a loss of naivety but at the same time preserving the emotions of that time, its radiant perceptibility, the shapes and the different textures it acquires as it is remembered will be the most effective ways to share those emotions through which several valuable messages are transmitted.
It is about recomposing the world by discovering in the intuitive an energy that gets inside things and from there, its destinies are greater; having a regenerating function in the field of subjectivity by this constant eagerness to recover that which seems precious to us and is in danger of vanishing. The unusual fluency of color and shapes that makes each of these pieces by Bernardo Navarro an attractive visual spectacle, have as indisputable allies intuition and the subconscious, they dialogue with each other, sometimes distracted from the forms, and others accentuating them with a deep conceptual relevance.
Every work usually has a sort of «great ambition» that unfolds as a force that drives the creative process, in Navarro’s case he perceives the idea of another reality, a different dimension that his unfathomable imagination represents through compositions based on geometry and color, aspects that in his work transmit a dynamism typical of dance and music. In this sense, he has confessed his admiration for the performances of Oskar Schlemmer, a good example of the impeccable representation of a parallel universe. The immoderation of the geometric parasitizing flexible structures that, far from setting limits to the spectator’s fantasy, manage to stimulate it.
Thus some pieces are based on infinite variants of abstraction, others add to that traveling certain material content to reinforce the symbolic echo and expressive thrust; specifically the work Coney Island not only speaks of entertainment and fun, it goes beyond, it comments and somehow dismantles how the human mind is subjugated to the predominance of myth, that is to say to an imaginary that spreads and modifies his behavior, and exhorting him to achieve goals that in the long run will not save him from his loneliness.