Galerie Perrotin is pleased to present Ivan Argote’s solo show Caliente, from January 8 to February 12, 2011, featuring several new works.
Ivan Argote focuses on apparently insignificant and often laughable situations that he transposes into visually surrealistic installations through films, photographs and paintings (he mimes and flirts with models featured in glossy magazines, All My Girlfriends, 2007 and disturbs the tranquillity and habits of Parisian pigeons in The Pigeon,2010).
Following in the footsteps of Claude Closky and Guillaume Paris who were his professors at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris, or Bas Jan Ader and John Baldessari for example, Ivan Argote reveals a poetic vision of daily life that would otherwise have escaped us at first glance. There are two video-performances, produced in the permanent collections of the MNAM/Centre Pompidou. In Retouch, 2008 he covers two of Mondrian’s paintings (New York City, 1942 and Composition en Rouge, Bleu et Blanc II, 1937), which are under glass at the MNAM in graffiti with a Dada-like gesture, and for Feeling, 2009, dances in front of a painting by Malevitch entitled Croix Noire, 1915 to the sound of a portable radio.In the paint-objects from the Mamarracho series (scribbles), 2011, Ivan Argote writes down scribbles produced with a computer and enlarges them 1000 times. When the line goes beyond the frame, it is transformed into sculpture.The equestrian statues in public spaces in Paris and New York from the series Horses, show horses without their famous riders, suggesting a transfer of signs and the function of public monuments: “They are there to remind us that we belong to a nation, a history, a tradition. By removing the heroes, all we see are images of horses in their wild state, but holding rather mannered, even kitsch poses.” The artist has even produced the missing nose in granite of the sculpture of the Grand Sphinx of Tanis housed in the Louvre, Sphinx (1750 BC). A symbol of power of the different kings who appropriated it, from Amenemhat II to Sheshonk I, the chimera being disfigured, Ivan Argote offered to restore it.Lastly, Ivan Argote is showing a scripted film about a family, History of Humanity, 2011, shot in super 8 where his father, mother, sister and nephew improvise roles that the artist has previously attributed to them in the form of choreographed allegories that make reference to historical moments – the emergence of Homo Sapiens, the first agricultural societies, the first civilisations, the domination of peoples by other peoples… Two video performances that twist the family film format, Birthday, 2009 and We are all in the bus, 2009 are also being exhibited.
Ivan Argote confronts the vanity of our existence with the grandeur of History by exploiting the critical and allegorical power of certain situations that appear seemingly insignificant.