Saturday 7 September from 5 to 7 p.m.
She is thirteen centimeters smaller than the average Dutch woman. One of the works in her solo presentation roll up (one’s) sleeves is a low bronze base on which the print of her shoe soles can be seen. The base has exactly the height that compensates for the length of the artist and makes it possible for her to conform to the Dutch average.
In the work of multi-media artist Ana Navas (1984, Quito, ECU), concepts such as transformation, assimilation and appropriation play an important role. Navas presentations often consist of installations in which paintings, objects, assemblies and video work function as “areas” in which those processes of transformation and assimilation take place. In roll up (one’s) sleeves, imitation is included as a theme, but also ideas about stereotype (identities) and the role that accompanying costumes play in social intercourse. The bronze base work Thirteen is a lucky number, 2019, is one of the works in which Navas plays with “pretending” in a world full of rules of conduct.
In recent years Navas has delved into the codes of image design and the exhibition includes fashion advice, in particular that of the Power Dressing from the late 1970s and 1980s, in various works. The fictional accessories in some assemblies, such as fake sideburns, fake Adam’s apples and cushions to hide the waist, form a playful commentary on the regulations for the right outfit for a woman in office (naturally in tune with the then existing office fashion for men) Where the artist sometimes performed in a flamboyant outfit in earlier work, she has now made costumes for household objects such as an ironing board, a drying rack or a vacuum cleaner. These everyday objects quickly evoke specific art-historical references, but Navas is particularly interested in the faded versions of those references, because they are the most “social” for her. Her work stems from a recurring interest in the relationship between design, art and “lower” disciplines such as decoration. She investigates the perception of art outside the context of art, and the idea of ”original” and “copy”.
For example, the series of Tara works in this exhibition revolves around an investigation into the archetypal painting and the properties that such a work must have to be considered as a painting. The compositions are composed of image fragments that emerge when you enter terms such as “contemporary painting” or “abstract painting” or simply “painting” at Google Images and are based on home-garden-and-kitchen interpretations of iconic gestures from art history.
roll up (one’s) sleeves suggest an atmosphere of “getting started”, physical labor, but Navas uses the title from associations with strategies around image formation, whether it is about art or about fashion or politics. Her paintings, sculptures, photos and objects show what can happen if the sleeves are rolled up.