Armory Show 2020

Armory Show 2020

Robert Nava

05.03.20 → 08.03.20

This year, Sorry We're Closed present Robert Nava in "Focus" section of the Armory Show NYC.


The figures of the invisible are summoned by the painter as many demiurges, deus-ex machina that haunt him, question him, whisper to him in the ear of the "painted us, represent us". Who is this «we» at Robert Nava The limits of reality and fiction are tenuous in this young painter, who went through academicism to better come out after a journey in the other reality, physical, that of ultimate fighting, whose gestures remain, disconcerted and reconfigured for another sphere, that of painting.


There live fiercely together Archangels, dragons, fantastic animals and others, wild, lost animals and movement as if frozen in the gesture. Kind of matrix effect on canvas, fractalization of the subject. The fiction of reality in Robert Nava?s painting is one of the many keys to reading his work.


Indeed, who can prove that he has never seen archangels, or dragons. This is not a provable fact, but it is not refutable either. We all believe in the existence of dinosaurs, but we?ve only seen bones.


If he paints animals with two heads, some sort of lost pokemon, in the end, he only represents the mistakes of a narration system that exists and that urges us to consume the remnants of a fiction that Believe and therefore validate the truth of certain things. It was like the time of the Inquisition, when the rule was defined by a small group and applied to the whole. Simple equation. Simple.


Nava?s characters burn, they bleed, they spit, they face the world. They push us to see beyond because Robert Nava manipulates underlying codes known to all, almost religious, in any case sufficiently detailed in two strokes, so as not to have to be decrypted: false ones, crosses, simplified characters, almost simplistic, sometimes reduced to a circle, two points for the eyes, winged characters, others on fire. They are simple to understand, appealing to our reptilian brain, primitive, primal. 


It is finally like a great infinite fresco, a fable of everyday life with all its history, its violence, its aggressiveness, its harshness, within the very contradiction of beauty, colours like auras of calm and peace and then again weapons, blood, cries, then again smiles, languor, tenderness, funny.


Robert Nava alternates, passes from the great protagonists like Death, to the smallest as fleas, and in this coming and going is a bit like Hades giving us access to his kingdom, its imagination, its vision of the world and its singularity.



Selected Images