Fotograf Magazine

Eduardo Navarro

Sensing the Subtle, Moving Through the Quiet, Performing the Unspeakable

Eduardo Navarro is an artist who gives the term “radical solidarity” a dimension we are not quite used to seeing in art. With his performances, installations and objects, he creates thought spaces and practical situations of expansion of the possibilities of its understanding and application.

In a world that is gradually more intensively swept by all sorts of crises, and in regard to the related awareness of the absurdity of the anthropocentric worldview, it has become all the more apparent that it is crucial for us to develop a specific type of sensitivity, receptivity and empathy with the environment, other species, the human and the non-human. In his art works, Eduardo Navarro carefully cultivates such qualities on an individual level – within himself as an artist – and on a collective level – within the viewers and participants to whom he uncovers and performs the various layered approaches to sensitization, and whom he also invites to active participation. The artist dismantles the foundations of our rock-solid belief in our own superiority and through an emphasis on the emotional and the sensational applies a dynamic which is in direct opposition to our need to constantly impose our conceptual, kinetic and existential apparatuses on other species or natural phenomena. He in contrast encourages us to master and conform to their communication patterns.

One of the key essences of Navarro’s artistic practice is movement and its diverse forms. Movement as choreography, transfer, transformation or even movement as an adaptation or a shift in our viewpoint. In this sense, one of the artists’ most eloquent pieces is his performance In Collaboration With the Sun (first performed in 2017). Here the artist – metaphorically speaking – steps cautiously towards he Sun, sensitively watching it, trying to understand its dynamics and establish communication. In principle, the participating performers, dressed in golden costumes, wearing face masks, have adopted such visual signs that the Sun knows very well. Then, through the choreography, they activate the mirrors they hold and accompany the Sun through the space. Performers guide it through exteriors and interiors, introducing it to the properties of artificial light and in return, the Sun reveals its own strategies and what it is capable of. Understanding the Sun’s behavior (and the behavior of other species and phenomena) is essential not only in terms of climate urgency but also in terms of practical life on Earth. Its energetic eruptions may overwhelm our communication, navigational or electric tracks and in order to avoid collapses, we have to learn to speak the Sun’s language. Timothy Morton writes of ’personhood’ as of a “widely available category” which he opens up to everyone and everything regardless of whether she/he/it is alive or not, human or non-human.1 Such an understanding radically supports the cultivation of interspecies empathy and in this sense, Eduardo Navarro makes us equal partners – the Sun is a person too.

Timothy Morton. Humankind: Solidarity With Nonhuman People. Brooklyn : Verso Books, 2019, p. 130.

EDUARDO NAVARRO is an artist creating mainly sensory-absorbing installations, performances, objects and drawings. Through his works, Navarro invites us to radically re-think our position within the world in relation to the non-human. His projects have been presented at the Museum of Contemporary Art Marc Niteroi, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Pivô, São Paulo, Brazil; Art Institute FHNW Academy of Art and Design, Basel, Switzerland; Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary (TBA21), Vienna, Austria; 32nd Sao Paulo Biennal or at the 12th Sharjah Biennal.

EMA HESTEROVÁ is a curator, art theorist and APART Collective member. She received her Master’s degree in Contemporary Art Theory and Practice at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava. In 2020, she co-founded and is co-curator of A Promise of Kneropy gallery in Bratislava.

Ema Hesterová