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Iván Navarro Eclipse Clock for the PK Shop

The New York-based artist discusses his latest sculpture, which blurs the abstract and functional

by Kat Herriman
on 17 November 2014
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An admirer of technology in all its forms, Chilean artist Iván Navarro struggles with the idea of being pigeonholed. Best known for his thought-provoking light-based sculptures, Navarro challenges himself to constantly evolve his practice so as to surprise rather than pander to his eager audience. His latest project, an illuminated clock made exclusively for Paul Kasmin’s PK Shop, is no exception. As the first edition from the blue-chip artist, the Eclipse Clock represents a deliberate step towards functionality and affordability. Like most of his work, Navarro’s wall-mounted timepiece not only required an intriguing concept but solid engineering as well. Produced in partnership with the shop’s director, Polina Berlin, the sculpture took an extensive prototyping phase in order to achieve its current plug-and-play form. We spoke with Navarro to learn more.

What was the inspiration behind your clock?

An Eclipse brings together two notions that I've often been interested in: light and time. The idea of incorporating the metaphor of an eclipse into a functional clock really appealed to me. At first I imagined an opaque disk moving across an illuminated surface, but as I experimented with different materials, a digital version of this movement felt more elegant and conceptual.

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Your art requires a lot of technical skills. Do you consider yourself an engineer?

I wish I could consider myself an engineer. I always think about myself more like a producer. Somebody in between. In art, the producer and the artist is the same person. When I make neon pieces, I can perfectly explain everything to the guys on the phone, but that took 10 years.

Did you see this as a functional piece?

I want it to be a mysterious piece—where you would have sense of time, but nothing clear. On the glass it says the word petrification, which is also related to time and light. I chose that word because it has 13 letters, and each letter is a number in the clock. So using the letters, there should be a vague sense of time, but it's obviously more abstract than a wall clock. I think it’s good to leave things abstract. They are more intriguing. They demand that you look at them again and again.

Ivan Navarro’s Eclipse clock is available for $7,500 at the PK Shop in an edition of 50.

Images courtesy of Paul Kasmin Shop

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