Iván Argote analyzes the nature of relationships in his first exhibition in Barcelona.

Iván Argote in ADN Gallery
Barcelona - APR 29, 2013
From May 22 to the 31st we will comprehend the of joy of our friends and relationships in the exhibition Un millón de amigos (A million friends) of Iván Argote, young colombian artist that lands in Barcelona for the first time. The show, curated by Albertine de Galbert, takes place in different spaces, analyzing the social interactions of man, with a tendency towards politics. In the first space, we find a tiny instalation, followed by different photographs that illustrate the topic of relation and interaction. Divided in 3 spaces, the first is centered on a more contextual aspect, the second space explores the emotions of the shared experience, and the third space shows tres short films about common experiences or spaces with a more political shade.

In the first space we see a photograph that is worth commeting. A common point in an undetermined place, a rock painted with what seems to be a small pair of pink lips. A point of reference for hikers and nature lovers that could have been built by the sum of small gestures of the different natural intervenors. But it has been done by Iván Argote. Either for the hikers and walkers, Argote in some way has made the world a little more magical with this, like the forests of Oma.

It is worth noting of all the works of the second space, two photographs of the sculptures of Isabel II and Christopher Columbus; Trusitas: Isabel entregando un contrato y Cristóbal hacia el sur (2012), situated in a square in Bogotá. Clothed with "ruanas", a type of poncho typical of the region. These photographs are taken in a performance that shows that the street is a battle field in which the urban guerrilla has the right to act. In this case it is an army without flags in which Argote shows his concerns and declares his principles. Have Isabel II and Columbus been Americanized? Or the natives Hispanized? It is a doble rhetorical question that we ask with this urban intervention. In order to answer this rhetorical question, we can recall the famous quote: "America was conquered by the indians and made independent by the Spanish" giving a twist to the thoughts established about this topic. The titled of the work also refers to the commercialization of tourism, which obviates the situation of the natives to create the image of perennial smile to greet the visitor.
Iván Argote in ADN Gallery
Finally, the slides of the third space about the strike sponsored by the artist in a children's center for 4-7 year olds is particularly important. Activismo! (2013) shows us different photographs of the protests while we listen to how he explains it to his mother. In this point, I would differ slightly from that proposed, since Colombia, from where Iván Argote is from, has a very violent political situation with a great number of sinducalists dead and an undeclared Civil War in the core of the jungle.Therefore, the fact of showing a student protest with young children may to some extent be too innocent for such a serious situation, coming to seem a mockery. Similarly it can be a way to address the conflict in the country in a different way, for the viewer to investigate the subject afterwards.

This is a recommendable exhibition to think about relationships in public spaces and about our relatioships in general, because, as the exhibition concludes (physically) we see that politics play a key role in these relations. As a philosopher said, man is a political animal. A show sponsored by the DNA Gallery that although we might not like in the beginning, provokes a series of completely necessary reflections in these times of futuristic speed.

Iván Argote. Un millón de amigos. ADN Gallery. Barcelona, Spain

Joan Vila i Boix 

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