Iván Argote / , & / 2023

A performative and interventionist work, this piece engages in the debate on colonial statues with an autobiographical reflection on the artist's own origins.

What should we do with all the statues and other monuments from the colonial era that proudly rise above the squares and parks of European cities? You could do what the Colombian artist Iván Argote did: hire a crane, don a boiler suit and simply remove them from their pedestals. That is what he did in Paris, where he temporarily removed a statue of military officer Joseph Gallieni and, in the same gesture, transformed the site itself into an arena for (re)negotiating history in the middle of public space. With actions in Rome, Madrid and Paris, the video work ‘Levitate’ is not only a documentation of Argote’s practice, but also an autobiographical reflection on its conditions, based on his own arrival in Europe. As the monuments hover over their pedestals, Argote raises the question not only of our shared history(s) and values, but also of public space as the place where the democratic drama continues to unfold.