Outdoor sculptures, 2014

Group show - Addenda, curated by Nancy Casielles, Musée de l’Hôpital Notre-Dame à la Rose, Belgium, 2014

Fascinated by the unique atmosphere of the Cloister Garden, Iván Argote has turned it into his own playground to produce a set of fourteen works entitled Fingers Crossed Destiny. The sculptures were made from the assembly of sections of traditional outdoor stone ornaments that the artist had destroyed beforehand. Broken heads, dismembered bodies and bits of human and animal anatomies constitute the visual framework of a new language, based on the fragment.
In the 18th century, the art historian Johan Winckelmann imposed fragments of ancient sculpture as a model in the visual arts. French philosopher Jacques Rancière added a political dimension to the visual challenge of incompleteness. The interest and the attraction of sculptures showing dismembered bodies stem from a kind of democratization ; in the sense that such mutilations, in a way, break down the hierarchy of bodies.
Iván Argote’s series of sculptures fits within the aesthetics of the fragment, as with the remains of ancient statues, in particular because of the material’s character ; left in its rough form by the artist. Yet, his assembled works represent a reversal : completed sculptures were destroyed and used as a basis for new pieces. The fragments retrieved from sculptures in a multitude of styles were then sorted and arranged on metal rods.
In the garden, each sculpture radiates power like a totem pole, pointing out the sometimes harsh treatments performed on the bodies of patients in the Hospital.

Excerpt from the exhibition catalogue.