José Nava is a Mexican fisherman turned self-taught artist. Nava was born in 1937 and grew up in the barrios of Acapulco on the pacific coast of Mexico. In 1961 he travelled to Europe and settled in England. Nava quickly became involved in the experimental theatre company, The People Show, building sets, props and costumes and performing internationally.
After leaving the theatre Nava dedicated his time to painting and drawing, producing a vast body of work, which has yet to be fully catalogued. Living in a self-built ‘shed’ in Kentish Town, reminiscent of a Mexican barrio house filled with stuffed fish, sculptures, an intriguing array of artefacts, art materials, textiles and hundreds of sketchbooks and folders full of artwork, Nava never really left Mexico, bringing its vibrancy back to London, preserving memories and feelings within his work and the world he has built around him.
The Koppel Project is honoured to present Nava’s first solo exhibition. After years of painting and drawing reclusively, Nava will share a significant selection of his life’s work, which has remained largely unseen until now. This exhibition brings together drawings, paintings, sculpture and objects from Nava’s workshop.
This exhibition has generously been supported and made possible by Phaidon Press, Habitat and The Mexican Embassy.