For his first solo show at WESERHALLE, Berlin based artist Navot Miller presents Colourful, homo, great., a series inspired by the artist’s recent travels interwoven with the artist’s multilayered identity.
Entering the exhibition the spectator is greeted by the large-scale, vibrant coloured canvases. The first impression is of electric compositions fueled by the flamboyant use of colours and the intensity of the exploration of flatness through the means of collage. After letting the first rush of these components settle, the work allows you to slow down. Details then slowly unfold; stories appear behind the carefully composed re-examination of everyday moments.
Growing up, Miller experienced the many facets of life between the rural vastness of his hometown Shadmot Mehola in the north of Israel and the bustling metropolis—such as New York and Paris—where he travelled regularly to visit relatives. In his visual language his traditional religious upbringing as an orthodox jew and his contemporary life do not oppose each other but are brought to a sensible equilibrium.
The still life titled PrEP shows a sink with two toothbrushes, soap and a pillbox. The objects of a possible morning routine lead you to think of “Preparation”. Only after paying special attention to the unique spelling of the title is the spectator led to a further meaning. PrEP—pictured in the pillbox of the painting—is a medication for homosexual men to prevent a potential contraction of HIV, which the artist also takes everyday. On the top right of this scene the Hebrew acronym בס”ד (basad) which translates to the phrase “with the help of god” is written. The artist explains: “Growing up as an observant jew, I had to practise the ritual of writing these 3 Hebrew letters on top of every page I started writing on. This work reflects on both my past and my present.” The use of the acronym becomes a powerful sarcastic signifier that shines a light on the complexity of an identity.
His work process starts with his own experiences documented as photographs or videos. Friends, acquaintances, lovers and everyday situations find their way onto his blank canvas, layered into a carefully composed collage of memories. For instance, the work Angelo & Sergio in Casa Biulú, focuses on two figures in a vibrant blue pool—strangers he got to know during his holidays in Mexico—while the background is drawn from a detail of another photograph from the same trip – the red and white stripes of a popcorn bag. Miller balances the components of space and colour to emit a sense of melancholy and voyeurism that charges the vibrant pieces with an unexpected intimacy. Miller describes how during his trip he was taking medications to treat a fungal infection on his face. Because of this, instead of taking part in social situations as he usually would, he played the role of an observer, watching and documenting interactions unfold. He explains further: “This vacation in Mexico was in many ways like the so-called “window shopping” where we see things we desire however, for a reason, cannot have for the moment.”
With a strong interest in architecture, Miller has a naturally heightened consideration towards the arrangement of the individual elements and manages to bring the powerful characteristics of his dream-like scenarios and his own identity into balance that allow for delicate relations to unfold, which are often colourful, homo and pretty great.
Navot Miller is a Berlin based artist from Israel. He studies at the Kunsthochschule Weißensee in Berlin. His works have been exhibited in several solo and group exhibitions. Most recently in Elektrohalle Rhomberg in Salzburg, Austria 2020 and at MISA in Berlin, Germany 2021.