08 October 2019
Profile, Carmen Argote, New Museum, New York
Benoît Loiseau, Frieze, October 21 2019
‘Walking is my primary process,’ artist Carmen Argote tells me as we stroll through the commercial district of Karaköy, Istanbul. When she arrived four weeks earlier for a residency at Ballon Rouge Collective, the Mexican-born, Los Angeles-based artist began walking aimlessly, sometimes for hours on end, observing mundane details of the city’s urban fabric: corn fibre street brooms, chipped plastic fruit crates, the light dancing on the surface of the Bosporus. ‘A way of understanding how I can connect with the city as a material,’ Argote explains of this dérive, which provided inspiration for her exhibition at Ballon Rouge, ‘Nutrition for a Better Life (Compre Chattara)’. There, a derelict wooden handcart used by one of the city’s many harduci, or scrap dealers, was festooned with knotted blue fishing rope, like the small boats docked on the river’s edge.