Solo show - Modules - Palais de Tokyo, 2012

Prix SAM pour l’art contemporain

The project La Estrategia revolves around historical material : the artist became interested in the activities of clandestine revolutionary groups in Bogotá which in the 1970s and 1980s formed communities governed by a system of “truths” which determined how they lived their daily lives and provided a filter through which the perceived the world. They undertook a series of physical, intellectual and mental exercises consisting of reading sessions, sport activities, and challenges designed to prepare them for the revolution. The idea was not to bring about the revolution, but to be ready for it if and when it occurred. Iván Argote collected oral anecdotes and stories, and used them to reconstruct the way of life in these communities. […]
Although the historical material related in La Estrategia is not part of the official history of Colombia, this project nevertheless indirectly relates to the memory of a time that was politically significant in that it contributed to the emergence of the country’s first left-wing parties. It is important to note the personal involvement of the artist, insofar as his parents lived in one of the communities. […]
The film is made to do reminiscent of archive footage. The artist worked with a number of young Colombians, some of them also descendants of members of the above-mentioned communities. Together they gathered information and anecdotes directly at their source, by talking to the people who had actually experienced the events. They immersed themselves in the past, assuming the roles of their forebears in order to understand their legacy. The film deals with the sedimentation of ideals, the way they are transformed, and their influence as time goes by. The participants allowed themselves the freedom to subjectively distort and modify the facts, producing a form of critical distance that anchors the archive in the present and challenges the relics of revolutionary thinking. […]
The works on show also function on a diegetic and extra-diegetic level, in that the presence of objects both on screen and in the exhibition space creates an ambiguous link between the interior and exterior of the film and draws the viewer into it, inviting us to engage directly with the questions it raises. […]
La Estrategia borrows its motifs and strategies from revolutionary groups and deals with a subject that is historical and human in equal measure.
The strategy adopted by the artist is intended to reduce the distance that separates two generations and two eras, to create a simultaneous dialogue between past and present, and to bring about an impossible encounter.

Text by Akiko Miki, excerpt from the exhibition catalogue.