BY BENOÎT LOISEAU | Frieze
‘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.