Baró Galeria SAO PAOLO the exhibition of artists Iván Navarro & Courtney Smith

“The Construction of Volumetric Interrelationships” is a collaborative exhibition featuring the individual work of each artist in a combined installation, punctuated by a series of co-authored sculptures.

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Baró gallery is pleased to announce the opening on August 6th of the exhibition “The Construction of Volumetric Interrelationships” by the artists Courtney Smith and Iván Navarro. The two artists bring their works together in one large installation made up of a succession of interconnecting clusters, inspired by intimate social spaces. Courtney Smith is known for her furniture-based sculpture and her investigation into the physical and psychological construction of interior spaces through the deconstruction of the elements that inhabit them, and Iván Navarro is widely recognized for his innovative work addressing the complex implications of transformation and transference of electrical energy through his ingeniously crafted luminous sculpture. The two artists naturally coincide over their fixation with the domestic objects that surround human life, which simultaneously describe and determine social activity: versions (and inversions) of tables, chairs and lamps continually recur in the sculptural repertoire of both artists. For their joint exhibition at Baró Galeria, the artists explore the intersection in their separate bodies of work by constructing energetic relationships between the individual works and by creating hybrid sculptures where they merge their visual languages into one.

The exhibition title is inspired by the title of the 1921 sculpture by the Belgian artist Georges Vantongerloo, “The Construction of Volumetric Interrelationships Derived from the Inscribed Square and the Square Circumscribed by the Circle.” As a member of the De Stijl group founded by Mondrian and Theo van Doesburg, Vantongerloo’s pursuit of geometric abstraction and pure art through the principles of mathematics is reflected in the rigidity of his language. Though Smith and Navarro share a deep fascination for formalist ideals, they have excerpted Vantongerloo’s words, fatally exposing them to metaphorical meaning.

Courtney Smith’s half of this siamese-exhibition is comprised of a series of furniture groupings in small environments, so-called “rooms” in open space. Though the configurations are inspired by geometrical formalism, each “room” performs an emotional function. The public is free to enter the installation, to wander from “room” to “room” and occupy the objects that compose them. The objects range from Smith’s exquisitely crafted furniture-sculptures to found or borrowed objects, mixed with her collaborative works with Navarro, resulting in a fundamentally anti-hierarchical approach displaying artwork.

In addition to the central installation, Iván Navarro will also present three works from his recent production focused on foreign intervention in Latin American dictatorships. The new video “Relay”, 2011, presents a reenactment of a real interview with former French military attaché Paul Aussaresses who assisted with the introduction of electricity-based torture techniques in Brazil and other Latin America countries.  The video shows images of people cycling through Central Park in New York wearing jackets with specific words on the back, embroidered with lights that are illuminated by energy of the cyclist pedaling. Navarro also collaborates with his brother Mario Navarro in the work “Cara Metade”, 2010, commissioned by Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris. Six showcases built with mirrors and lights contain objects and newspaper clippings from France and Brazil. The work proposes a political debate in reference to military cooperation between the two countries during the 1970’s, especially in regards to the modes of torture exported from France to Brazil and other Latin American countries. Finally, the site-specific “REJA”, 2011, is presented in the garden of the gallery, an ornamental fence crafted in neon, which narratively extends the interior installation into the exterior space.

“The Construction of Volumetric Interrelationships” carries on the legacy of the endemic and universal debate between art, politics and design in an exhibition that brings together these two artists and their unique visions.

Courtney Smith (Paris 1966) is an American Brazilian artist currently residing in Brooklyn, New York.  Her work has evolved around the concept of furniture and its metonymical relationship to human form and function. She creates complex, manipulable sculpture as “construction kits” to be endlessly reconfigured into fictional interiors. Smith has exhibited her work extensively throughout the United States, Europe and Latin America, in galleries and museums such as PS1/MOMA, El Museo del Barrio, and The Museum of Art and Design in New York, Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid, Whilhelm-Hack Museum in Germany, and MAM in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, among others.

Chilean artist Iván Navarro (Santiago 1972) is also based in Brooklyn, New York. Navarro’s work transcends its Minimalist roots by employing mass-produced materials to build powerfully symbolic objects that effectively infiltrate the domestic realm they mimic. His socio-politically charged sculptures in neon, fluorescent or incandescent light double as functional elements, integrated in the physical space they inhabit. His work has been shown in museums and galleries all over the world, including his participation in the 53rd Venice Biennale in 2009, and in such venues as The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington DC, MOCA Goldman Warehouse, Miami, Witte de Witt, Rotterdam, Caja de Burgos, Spain, Towner Art Museum, Eastbourne UK, among many others.


  • Rua Barra Funda, 216, Barra Funda – São Paulo
  • (11) 3666-6489
  • Opening: 6th August 2011, from 11h to 18h.
  • Exhibition: 6th August to 10th September 2011
  • Visiting hours: Tuesday to Friday, from 11h to 19h; Saturday from 11h to 17h.
  • Free entrance


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artapartofculture redazione

E’ un magazine nato con l’intento di trattare in maniera agile e approfondita, di promuovere, diffondere, valorizzare le arti visive e più in generale la cultura della contemporaneità nelle sue molteplici manifestazioni


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