Iván Argote, Beatrice Bulgari, Eva Albarrán, Sam Stourdzé, Philippe Lamy
In Between Art Film, Albarrán Bourdais Gallery, Barter ParisCompany, Accademia di Francia a Roma – Villa Medici
festivals & awards:
Levitate reflects on the presence of colonial monuments in public spaces through a speculative fiction approach.
The video records a performative action which took place in Rome where the Piazza del Popolo’s Flaminio obelisk was brought down from its standing position and made levitate. Suddenly, it could not visually dominate the square it was originally placed in, and it turned from a symbol of power into an inert object. As Kathryn Weir points out: “Rome features more obelisks than any other city, accumulated since 10 BCE when Emperor Augustus carried away the Flaminio obelisk to celebrate the conquest of Egypt; he started a mania that would extend from the Medicis to Mussolini. Archetypes of public monuments, obelisks testify to worlds ending and beginning.”
Levitate is part of a trilogy whose other two episodes are set in Paris, where the artist simulated the removal of the statue commemorating Marshal Joseph Gallieni from its pedestal in Place Vauban (Au Revoir – Joseph Gallieni [Farewell – Joseph Gallieni], 2021), and in Madrid, where he simulated the removal of the statue of Christopher Columbus and its transportation through the city on the back of a truck, causing the general perplexity and interest of passersby (Paseo, 2022). Both Gallieni and Columbus were responsible for the massacres of indigenous peoples.
Through play and poetry, Levitate calls for a conversation around what to do with hegemonic modalities of history-making and writing.