Iván Argote’s new work An Idea of Progress includes an ambitious large-scale banner covering the facade of SPACE Mare Street and, in the gallery, a film and series of sculptures. The project is centred on the metaphor of the construction site as a contemporary urban monument to power and progress. The development site—encircled by a glossy hoarding promoting a fictional, inaccessible lifestyle— is presented as the symbol for exploring the complexities of gentrification. This global epidemic is not solely specific to Hackney, but is an on-going issue that has been present within the east London borough since the 1970s.
Conducting interviews with Hackney residents, Argote attempts to discover what might be an actual desirable addition to Hackney. He combines these findings to create an equally fictional structure, yet picturing real and local desires. The depicted building sits in contrast to appropriated images and phrases from current hoardings in Hackney to humorously scrutinise the absurdity of the displays and their associated jargon: what exactly is the ‘future’s future’? Argote’s hoarding at SPACE examines the power and potential in illustrating an alternative and collective development.
A commissioned essay on An Idea of Progress written by David Madden will be available online and at SPACE.