IVAN ARGOTE: CALIENTE
Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin, 2011
Ivan Argote focuses on apparently insignificant and often laughable situations that he transposes into visually surrealistic installations through films, photographs and paintings (he mimes and flirts with models featured in glossy magazines, All My Girlfriends, 2007 and disturbs the tranquillity and habits of Parisian pigeons in The Pigeon, 2010).
Following in the footsteps of Claude Closky and Guillaume Paris who were his professors at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris, or Bas Jan Ader and John Baldessari for example, Ivan Argote reveals a poetic vision of daily life that would otherwise have escaped us at first glance.
There are two video-performances, produced in the permanent collections of the MNAM/Centre Pompidou. In Retouch, 2008 he covers two of Mondrian‚Äôs paintings (New York City, 1942 and Composition en Rouge, Bleu et Blanc II, 1937), which are under glass at the MNAM in graffiti with a Dada-like gesture, and for Feeling, 2009, dances in front of a painting by Malevitch entitled Croix Noire, 1915 to the sound of a portable radio.
In the paint-objects from the Mamarracho series (scribbles), 2011, Ivan Argote writes down scribbles produced with a computer and enlarges them 1000 times. When the line goes beyond the frame, it is transformed into sculpture.
The equestrian statues in public spaces in Paris and New York from the series Horses, show horses without their famous riders, suggesting a transfer of signs and the function of public monuments: ‚ÄúThey are there to remind us that we belong to a nation, a history, a tradition. By removing the heroes, all we see are images of horses in their wild state, but holding rather mannered, even kitsch poses.‚ÄĚ
IVAN ARGOTE ‚ÄėRETOUCHES‚Äô MONDRIAN PAINTINGS
August 2011, Don Michael Acelar De Leon, psfk
Colombia-born visual artist Ivan Argote is known for creating artworks that convey a rebellious attitude toward traditional art. In this surprising piece, titled Retouch,‚Äô Argote films himself with a video camera and proceeds to spray-paint over top of two paintings by the famed Dutch painter Piet Mondrian. While it may seem like a juvenile act of vandalism, Argote‚Äôs work seems to highlight the often-overlooked characteristics of paintingsjust glanced at in museums ‚ÄĒ in this case, the precision of Mondrian‚Äôs usage of vertical and horizontal lines and the three primary colors. With their graffitti additions, the paintings become more noticeable in a way.
Idol Magazine, by Emma Hurwitz and Lucy Morris, 2011
LET‚ÄôS START FROM THE BEGINNING, HOW WAS YOUR CHILDHOOD? DID YOU ALWAYS WANT TO BE AN ARTIST?
I keep nice souvenirs from childhood. I have a really nice family, I always had lots of love and tenderness. Me and my sister were raised in a particular way, we always did what we wanted to do, it was a very free childhood, of course our parents helped us to make choices. My parents have worked all their life in politics (left wing), with unions, with poor communities and with other workers organisations in Colombia, so at dinner most of the time we talk about politics. I spent lots of time in the street, or alone doing different things at home. I always had friends older than me, three or four years, so I was precocious in some things, good and bad. I discovered art once I was in the University studying graphic design in Colombia, before, when I was child I wanted to be Astronaut.
TELL ME ABOUT YOUR WORK, YOUR ETHOS AND YOUR INSPIRATION.
Three question in one! My works are reflections about the way we behave, about how we understand our close environment, and about how this close environment is related with history, traditions, art, politics and power. I build these reflections with a playful spirit, it allows me to work with great freedom in different ways, which also is a comment about the way one works on art.
Shock full of inventiveness and humor with a rebellious twist, Ivan Argote‚Äôs work comments on the ways we traditionally regard art, by shifting the focus from the visual work to very particular actions that question the behaviors we assume within society‚Äôs parameters of what is acceptable. In Retouch, the artist takes a hand-held video camera to a well-known museum in Paris and films himself spray painting a couple of Mondrians on the walls. The act of retouching this canonic work is one of rebellion that forces viewers to think about alternative ways of seeing art within the context of the institution. Do the spray-painted lines differ so much from the ones painted by Mondrian? Is this an act of vandalism as much as it is a statement mocking the history of art? In fact, Ivan is interested in ‚Äúmicro-scale phenomena and logical behaviors and to make them talk about political, sociological and artistic behaviors.‚ÄĚ Working with different mediums such as video, photograhy, informatics, performance and sculpture, Ivan‚Äôs work criticizes with a slight kick, just enough to make viewers want to see more of his ingenious work.