a sculpture of a pair of 18th-century style boots cast in bronze and installed in a Bruges canal

Photos by Filip Dujardin. All images © Ivan Argote, shared with permission

A pair of sizable bronze boots have paused in a Bruges canal, the whereabouts of their owner unknown. The striking bronze sculpture titled “Who?” by Ivan Argote appears as if an 18th-century statue has been shorn at the knees, inviting speculation about the wearer’s identity.

Argote’s work references the toppling of monuments depicting those with ties to colonialism, seen today as memorializing dark legacies of human enslavement, violence, and abuses of power. Belgium has a long and brutal colonial history, primarily in Africa. “Monuments are scars in our cities and memories, often telling us of a history of dominations and humiliations,” the artist says. “It is up to us to reclaim the right to create new narratives and heal the wounds of our violent histories.”

“Who?” is part of Triënnale Brugge, which continues through September 1. Argote will also present an outdoor sculpture in the Giardini for the 60th Annual Venice Biennale. Find more on the artist’s website and Instagram.

 

a sculpture of a pair of 18th-century style boots cast in bronze and installed in a Bruges canal

a sculpture of a pair of 18th-century style boots cast in bronze and installed in a bruges canal  a sculpture of a pair of 18th-century style boots cast in bronze and installed in a bruges canal, seen through some trees and under the arch of a foot bridge

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