Au Revoir is a short film documenting an artistic intervention consisting of removing the statue of Joseph Gallieni from Place Vauban in Paris. This former military officer and colonial administrator took an active part in consolidating and expanding the French colonial empire in Africa. His statue was vandalized several times in recent years and was notably covered with fake blood by activists in 2021 to denounce the glorification of colonialism. This film by Iván Argote was conceived in collaboration with the activist Françoise Vergès and the journalist Pablo Pillaud-Vivien. It was imagined as an 'anticipation' of a future where sculptures glorifying colonialism would be legally removed from the public sphere.
The film is a continuation of the artist's critique of the Western view of colonization as salvific for colonized populations. The heroization of colonists is materialized through numerous monuments and sites of remembrance in European and American cities, which have inspired numerous interventions by Iván Argote. He has appropriated multiple sculptures and monuments in order to give them a different meaning, making them more inclusive and representative of groups that are often invisible in official narratives.
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