• Issue
  • May 01, 2023

Inside Burger Collection: Iván Argote: This is the strategy

Installation view of IVAN ARGOTE’s (back) Levitate, 2022, three-channel video installation: 23 min 48 sec; and (front) A Place to Stay, 2022, velvet and foam, dimensions variable, at "Air de jeux," Centre Pompidou, Paris, 2022. Photo by Bertrand Pre

Over the past decade, Paris-based multidisciplinary artist Iván Argote has gained notable attention for his large-scale public monument projects and for the playfulness he brings to historical interrogations. During last year’s nomination for the Centre Pompidou’s prestigious Prix Marcel Duchamp, Argote exhibited Air de Jeux (2020), a three-channel video installation projected in a room filled with soft obelisks that visitors could sit on. The projections showed separate yet interrelated narratives of three contested public monuments: the Egyptian obelisk at the Piazza del Popolo in Rome; the statue of Christopher Columbus at Plaza Colón in Madrid; and a bronze sculpture honoring the French general Joseph Gallieni at the Place Vauban in Paris. Argote selected these for their physical manifestations and representations of colonial power and exploitation. Each chapter of the video simulates their removal, combining the documentation of public performances with texts outlining Argote’s reflections on the usage of urban spaces, his journey as a Colombian immigrant to Europe, and the complex and competing narratives of how the country of his birth was shaped by colonialism.