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  • Provenance

    Private Collection, New York

  • Catalogue Essay

    You Sit, You Die is a lounge chair built from white fluorescent lights. ‘This is my version of the electric chair’, the artist explains. Electricity was one of the tools of torture preferred by the Chilean government, but the piece also has local currency. On the paper seat, he has written the names of every individual executed in Florida by electric chair, to bear witness to the state’s record of capital punishment. Then he delivers an extra jolt—the joints are fastened with shoelaces, an item confiscated from prisoners to prevent them from hanging themselves.”
    (M. Egan, “Shock Tactics”, The New York Times, 4 November 2007).

    Iván Navarro is part of a generation of Chileans who grew up under Augusto Pinochet’s brutal regime. Through his artistic work, he has sought to examine the conditions of his childhood in order to come to terms with them. It thus comes as no surprise that Navarro’s neon installations, including another version of You Sit, You Die, were selected by the Chilean government to represent the country in the 53rd Venice Biennale. The artist has stated that, as a child, he was scared of “disappearing” like thousands of political prisoners, and he uses light to manifest the latent fear of darkness and death. In his work, light becomes an alluring, silent killer, rather than the traditional emblem of good and safety. Aesthetically beautiful and psychologically unnerving, You Sit, You Die is a profoundly personal and oddly literal meditation on fear and power.

CHILEAN

23

You Sit, You Die

2002
Fluorescent lightbulbs, electric cables, shoe laces, printed paper and painted wood.
37 1/2 x 24 x 48 in. (95.3 x 61 x 121.9 cm).
This work is from an edition of three.

Estimate
$30,000 - 40,000 

Sold for $37,500

Latin America

14 & 15 November 2011
New York