Robert Nava

Robert Nava

24.10.20 → 19.12.20

From Robert Nava’s painting emerges a primordial gesture. Almost animal. Dazzling, like a hug or a fight between visible and invisible things.


The figures of the invisible are summoned by the painter like so many demiurges, deus-ex machina that haunt him, question him, whisper to him in the ear some «painted us, represents us». Who is this «we» at Robert Nava?


« I wanted to do something benevolent, but at first sight it seems scary... As if the dawn and its light had remained behind. We don’t finally know whether the day starts or ends. » The whole ambivalence of Robert Nava’s painting is expressed in this sentence.


Presumably, this exhibition is the result of a ritual initiated in the dusk.
Ending at dawn, it consists of allegorico-metonymic paintings creating “a system of relations between two worlds”. It links a conjunction of symbolic elements: characters, animals, objects, gestures, colors, numbers. He makes use of metonymy as a form both poetic and pictorial. Metonymy designating from antiquity the figure.


This is what Robert Nava is all about: creating figures in an allegorical frame, multiple fields of the figure, supers-figures, and making figure what is not a priori figure. The questions of beauty, truthfulness, plausibility or realism no longer prevail, what operates here is an alteration of our field of reality.


The paintings we are looking at push us to see a beyond because Robert Nava manipulates underlying codes known to everyone, almost religious, in any case sufficiently detailed not to have to be decrypted: a bestiary composed of rabbit, Shark, Leo, Stars… Simplified characters, almost simplistic, sometimes reduced to a circle, two points for the eyes, winged characters, others on fire. They are simple to understand, making using our reptilian, primitive, primary brain. We enter Nava’s painting as if we were spectators of a crusade, a parade or a quest.


Nava operates paradoxically as a sculptor. He erects Golems of lines, textures, and fights to bring out on these canvases companions of dialogues. What do they talk about together at night or in the early morning after having crossed the nothingness of this ritual of passage leading from darkness to light ?


Perhaps they are telling themselves a world seen since 2020. A singular year, in six paintings, six scenes, six characters.

First, this rabbit, described as a smuggler, a portal providing access to other states of time and matter. «This rabbit, seems to work something on humanity, but it is in itself abstract painting. Existence and the nothing that surrounds it. People often say to follow the Rabbit». Many will follow him and take the risk of accepting this ritual of passage and seeing themselves crossed by themselves, from Perceval to Neo, Alice or Siddhartha.

I - The rabbit in allegory of the Quest.


Once on the path, we are faced with a constellation, « The lion of time possessing time itself in its paws, carrying it with care. both holder and smuggler.
He travels through the portal of time”. So through the Rabbit…
«Leo Draco» tells us the dual aspect of the the dual aspect of life, the moon, the sun and the tides, which by their powers, interact with the Earth, the seas and the whole of life. Time as a notion of intimacy, that we have it, that we lack it, that we want it, that we make a misused or virtuous use of it. It is this unsolvable riddle to which we continue to be subjected.

II - The Constellation of Leo in allegory of Time.


Crossing Time on the back of Constellation-Lion, we arrive at the place called
'Castle clown', and in the den of the 'Heavenly Nightmare [protector]'.
Two powerful paintings questioning the paradox, the attraction towards one or the other side. An introspective moment, both from the point of view of the painter and the one who is about to see each of these two paintings . A look at the conditional - I would like to approach but I don’t know, I am attracted but I am afraid -  "I wanted to do something benevolent, but at first glance it seems scary [...]".

III & IV - Allegories of Doubt and Paradox


Suddenly, this shark, aesthetic Mario Bros 1989, character with high responsibility since he is the “Creator of rain in spearteeth” – Robert tells us that it is a
‘land shark that exists in a world where it helps to control cloud rain through the absorption of gills and water flows from its teeth / mouth’ – Nothing incongruous because, to remember, we are from a fish and we are not going back to Darwin thery here.

V – Allegory of Ecology


And then, the encounter, the one that pushes, from which we do not recover. Predestination. Announced always in the stars. Sylvia. Sylvia, we look at her from beyond, because after 2020, we don’t know what happened. Very few witnesses stayed behind. Elon Musk finally sequestered the richest people on the planet by not asking them for their opinion and forced them into his ships heading….? We no longer knew anything about it, saw nothing. Sylvia is a “Painting Resurrected. The bottom almost destroyed and then brought back to life, in a thing that destroys things ». Sylvia’s not a woman, it’s a huge asteroid heading straight for us.

VI - Allegory of Extinction


Selected Images