Solo show curated by Julio César Morales - ASU Art Museum - Tempe (AZ) - 2019

Iván Argote : Juntos Together
August 17, 2019 to January 3, 2020

What can we learn about history and how can we further our subjectivity towards a more profound visionary culture ? Ivan Argote poses this question to us.

Influenced by pre-Colombian and brutalist architecture, Argote’s work often contain messages/words in various languages that are adopted by what the artist calls “Ternura Radical [Radical Tenderness]” an on-going strategy that relies upon using affection, emotions and humor as subversive tools to engage public audiences on political and personal levels, the artist attempts to generate spaces of dialogue. Iván Argote is a Columbian-born/Paris based artist this project marks his first solo museum exhibition in the United States along with his first film and video survey (2007 to 2019) featuring groundbreaking experimental narrative works that range from documenting public interventions to subtler poetic and political gestures that push the boundaries of the moving image.

For example, in his film (2016) Fructose, Argote explores the story of the moment when the idea of the theory of relativity came to Isaac Newton, as told when an apple fell from a tree and hit his head inspiring him to write the Law of Gravity (1687). Newton states “that everybody in the universe is attracted to every other body with a force that is directly proportional to the product of their masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them”. In connection Argote’s sees art a philosophical tool and also a field of experimentation on how our bodies communication to one another. The film is a set up an experimental narrative with the help of dancers, actors and a unique soundscape, he also replaces the classic “apple” falling with another fruit, the tropical pineapple (native to South America) falling in extreme slow motion where it gets smashed to a million pieces onto the historical plaque placed in the location. Bringing into question the authenticity of the location and story simultaneously deconstruct hegemonic narratives and attempting to decolonize history, by placing the voice of “the other” into a larger historical narrative based on knowledge.

Through there is a long history in Latin America of Poesia Contreta, an art movement based on abstraction and text-based works. Argote is not directly influenced by this movement by rather the contemporary human experience in urban environments and its vernacular architecture and specifically political graffiti. His work intends to generate a response, a dialogue with forms of protest and poetics. The work in Juntos Together, does not make a distinction between language, borders, gender and equality, but rather proposes a sweeping look at how we relate to each other.

- Julio César Morales