If only it were that easy… (ongoing)
Thank you for joining my collaborators Eva Perez, Tim Brown, Nancy Popp, Bill Kelley Jr, Deanna Erdmann, Anuradha Vikram, Alexandra Grant, and I in our process.
In 2000, my father left to Guadalajara from Los Angeles permanently on his California Moto Guzzi V11 EV motorcycle. Wanting to return to Mexico had been one of several reasons why my parents decided to go their separate ways; my mother, sister, and I remained in Los Angeles.
I stayed eighteen years old in his mind, and our relationship became rooted in the past and in memories. Our phone conversations centered on the weather.
He would often recount the great journey he undertook when he left Los Angeles, he would speak of it the same way he used to talk about growing up in Guadalajara.
Years later in 2014, I saw that he had his motorcycle in his living-room, situated facing the two perpendicular couches. He still rides and he keeps the bike in the house. A drawing I had made of the facade of the home we had all shared in Los Angeles hung on the wall. It was then that I understood that he was now looking back from Guadalajara to Los Angeles. His Moto Guzzi, for me, became an object imbued with memory and energy. It became clear to me that I needed to traverse his route in reverse, I needed to ride his motorcycle back as a healing process.
I went to Guadalajara to ask my father for his bike. We came to an agreement, my bike for his. I would get my own bike, learn to ride, then make the exchange.
I recently obtained my M1, having never ridden before three months ago.
I approached this project the way I had approached other works. In order to bring the Moto Guzzi back to Los Angeles, I would just need to learn how to ride and navigate my own journey back.
I purchased a motorcycle that would prepare me for riding the Guzzi. I had no idea what riding actually was.
Today is about the process of learning to ride in the greater breadth of the idea. Not just the skills to ride, but understanding the ride as a choice and a perspective shaped by a positioning of the self within vulnerability. Today is about understanding my father as a person, as a self-taught rid- er, about being in the present.
My mentors are all people I knew before, but have gotten to know better through the act of learning to ride. Today is about being in this learning process with them, and inviting you to expe- rience it.
If only it were that easy… is the beginning of a much larger personal work that will culminate in me eventually being able to bring my father’s Moto Guzzi V11 back to Los Angeles. I will be an Artist Lab artist in residence at 18th Street Art Center imagining this future journey.
Carmen Argote January 20, 2018