artists & participants

press release

In the gallery museum, this landscape is invaded by the actions of the spectator. The conflict, brought about as a result of the invasion of this space by the public, who must decide whether to take part - by sitting down and drinking a beer - or to take on the role of the traditional, passive spectator, highlights the dilemma surrounding the role of the spectator, of the way to approach a work of art and of the possibilities contained within one's contemplation of it.

(From the fanzine of Pradera constructivista y deconstructivista...)

ARTIUM presents Pradera constructivista y deconstructivista..., the new project by Wilfredo Prieto for the Praxis programme.

This Cuban artist creates artworks with materials used typically in the construction industry, a landscape that spectators will regard from the comfort of a sofa and "with their feet on the table", in a new proposal within the Praxis programme entitled Pradera constructivista y deconstructivista, vista desde el sofá de la casa con los pies sobre la mesa (North Gallery, until May 29). Faithful to the dictates of his art, in which he has combined reality with metaphor, physicality with concepts, irony with reflection, with the materials typical of the construction industry, Prieto creates a somewhat familiar landscape, because it alludes to the state of almost permanent transformation of the urban environment (the city forever under construction) and because it must be regarded from the comfort of a sofa, with one's feet resting on a table. The project, curated by Blanca de la Torre, includes, as is usual in the Praxis programme, a fanzine, the contents of which will develop with the exhibition itself. Praxis is a project produced by ARTIUM in which the artist acquires a greater presence and protagonism, as he/she constructs his/her exhibition proposal in full view of the public.

Wilfredo Prieto has conceived the Praxis space as a space for conceptual reflection on landscape, establishing at the same time both a sense of continuity and a questioning of this artistic genre. Prieto has filled the gallery with materials used typically in road works in cities, from traffic lights to cobbles as well as the materials used to pave the streets and squares around ARTIUM, including scaffolding, concrete mixers, fencing, sacks of cement ... each one of these creates a particular landscape in which the participation required of the spectator is a little strange.

This Cuban artist proposes Pradera constructivista y deconstructivista... as a constructed landscape, in which the objects placed in a particular order must be regarded as if the spectator were in the sitting room of his home, sitting on a sofa and "with his feet on the table". From this observation point, of contemplation, the spectator is even provided with a refrigerator from which he can take a beer and enjoy this during his "act of contemplation". Both these elements, the sofa and the refrigerator, form part of the exhibition, but, nevertheless, they represent an added value to the presence of the visitor, to the very same fact of the visit: Pradera... must be regarded in a position and with an attitude predetermined by the artist.

Wilfredo Prieto brings together in such a small space many of the key elements present in other works: a perfectly calculated minimalism, the play on words associated with the contents of the exhibition, the irony, the direct and indirect reference to familiar questions of a social and political nature ... Nature, the transformation of landscape by urban development, the human attitude towards this situation, the concepts involved and the way of building and inhabiting spaces, form part of the reflection recommended by the new Praxis project at ARTIUM.

As in the case of other Praxis projects, Pradera constructivista y deconstructivista also features a fanzine, the form of which differs a great deal from the brochures published by this Centre-Museum. And the fact is that Praxis is defined as an alternative module to the annual programme of exhibitions which in some aspects has inherited the self-managing subculture based on the punk movement of the 70s. The project created by Wilfredo Prieto identifies perfectly with the personality of Praxis as a laboratory or experimental workshop, which combines improvisation, recycling, the procedural, the relational, direct action and do-it-yourself.

In line with the spirit of Praxis, here, the role of the artist is also more active compared with the customary protagonism of the work of art. Prieto works during the Centre-Museum's opening hours, and therefore the spectator can witness each and every step in the process until the work is complete; he can interact with the artist or simply observe him while he works.

Wilfredo Prieto

Wilfredo Prieto was born in 1978 in Zaz del Medio, in the province of Santi Spiritus, in Cuba and was trained at the Higher Arts Institute of that city and at the prestigious DUPP Gallery. During the eighth Havana biennial, representing the DUPP Gallery, Prieto received the UNESCO prize for the promotion of the arts. He obtained fellowships at the Kadist Art Foundation in Paris and the John Simon Guggenheim of New York, among others, and in 2008, received the F prizes of Buenos Aires and the prize awarded by the Cartier Foundation of London. Today, he is recognised as one of the most important artists on the international art scene.

In addition to the last editions of the Havana Biennial, Wilfredo Prieto has taken part in important international events such as the 2007 Venice Biennial or the 2010 Sao Paulo Biennial. Among his one-man shows, we might mention Montaña, at the SMAK in Gantes, Belgium, in 2008; Ángulo muerto, at the Kadist Foundation of Arts in Paris, in 2006; Mudo, at the McCaster Museum of Art in Hamilton, Canada; and Mucho ruido y pocas nueces II, at the MUSAC of León. Today, while preparing a major retrospective exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Detroit, he is exhibiting Amarrado a la pata de la mesa at the CA2M in Mostoles, Madrid.

Using the absurd as a strategy to involve the spectator, Wilfredo Prieto alters public spaces or galleries with objects or interventions in which he combines humour with critical reflection on the sociopolitical situation. Prieto banishes objects from their initial function or from their natural form by introducing these into a different context or by transforming the object in itself with a poetically minimalist appearance. Wilfredo Prieto investigates humour as an artistic strategy, creating images that are both light and amusing, both absurd and full of meaning such as a subversive image of contemporary life.

only in german

Wilfredo Prieto
Praxis: Pradera constructivista y deconstructivista, vista desde el sofá de la casa con los pies sobre la mesa
Kurator: Blanca de la Torre