The Writing of El Dorado
By Mario Navarrete Nino
March 16 – April 5, 2016
Student Curators: Caryn Byllott, Christine Adoara Buckley, Maria Katherine Braswell, Megan Haug, Skyler Hunter Simpson, Sophia Hei Man Wong
Faculty Coordinator: Gianni Rossiello
About the Exhibition:
The Chibcha is an ancient civilization, the most developed among pre-Columbian Americans. At the time of the Spanish conquest, it was a sort of confederation governed by five chiefs or “Caciques”, which depended on several vassals, some of which virtually autonomous and often fighting each other. The Chibcha lived in round houses with pyramidal roofs while the Caciques had the larger and more elegant homes. There are still traces of crude zoomorphic sculptures, carved in granite and syenite, and they even found hieroglyphic inscriptions. In their artistic expression, the Chibcha used the “picture writing” that, although crude, is well-crafted.
“Our” Mario Navarrete bridges the pre-Columbian culture of his ancestors and the advanced artistic techniques of the Italic Middle Age artists. He does so through the use of a laborious, ancient, sought, rare, and difficult technique: the Byzantine Mosaic. What do those abstract signs in the blue/black luminescent sky mean? It’s a mystery that is up to us to interpret.
The artist was born in Bogota, Colombia, but has an international curriculum: he studied in Barcelona and currently lives in Florence. He worked, visited, exhibited and taught in different locations around the world. All these places have greatly influenced his work. The theme of the collection on display takes roots from his native land: the Writing of El Dorado. Mario Navarrete is fascinated by the ancient pre-Columbian civilizations, particularly Chabchi who once lived in the north of Bogota. This exhibition tells the legend of El Dorado, focusing on the signs as a form of expression. Mario’s time in Barcelona inspired his passion for mosaics. Enchanted by the way the glass captures and reflects light, influenced by ceramics from Gaudi and then by the school of Florentine Mosaic, Mario has combined his passions, his knowledge and his skills.
See the catalog here.