Navid Nuur – Untitled (2011)


Navid Nuur (Iran, 1976, grew up in the Netherlands, lives and works in The Hague) has made a rapid rise in the art world. He has been working for only a few years, but has already exhibited at the most prestigious venues, both in the Netherlands and far beyond. Nuur’s uncompromising dedication, his enthusiasm and boundless creativity are the ingredients for his very convincing work. Although relatively new, his body of work displays surprising versatility: from monumental interventions in exhibition spaces to small-scale works. He makes objects, installations and also textual pieces that often consist of the words from gallery and museum walls. Absolutely everything that he encounters might become an element of his work: string, matches, bin bags, clay, polystyrene foam, bee pollen, fluorescent tubes, popcorn. An upturned, burnt-out waste container serves as a projection room. He can also create art from the materials left behind after the construction of an exhibition, such as gloves, tape and bubble wrap: dioramas, for example, or polystyrene shapes that look like precious stones. His playful and often humorous use of material is an important feature of Nuur’s conceptual work, which often influences the way people experience a space. Nuur draws attention to places that are normally overlooked. A black dark ridge found under a baseboard, stuffed with the absorbed colours, which made the ridge turn black in the first place (2005-2008) consists of thousands of tiny balls of coloured Fimo clay, rolled by hand, and hidden beneath a skirting board. For sale by the gram.


His work Vein of Venus (2008) displays a similar ingenuity and lightness of touch. As is often the case in Nuur’s work, it depicts a process of transformation. The installation consists of a projector with an ice lolly on top, the warmth of the bulb making it melt faster than it usually would. This melting process is projected onto the wall: an almost hallucinatory image of constantly changing shapes and colours. Nuur tested an entire freezer cabinet of lollies before he found one – just an ordinary Rocket? – that melted in exactly the right way. This illustrates his perfectionism and focus as an artist.


Nuur generally creates artworks that have a strong relationship to their surroundings. This is also the case with the work he has made for Lustwarande ‘11. It barely stood out from its surroundings, so that you might almost walk past it. On display was a large boulder of the kind you might come across in a natural environment. Something appeared to be rising up out of the smooth stone surface, an indefinable thing, with a peculiar shape and in a slightly darker shade than the boulder. It turned out to be iron powder. A strong magnetic force held the powder that was sprinkled on the surface, forming a crystalline pattern. It was as though a strange sort of geometric fungus is growing on the stone. This was an artificial variant of the real fungi that grow in De Oude Warande and focused attention on the blurred distinctions between the natural and the artificial.


Manon Braat / translation Laura Watkinson