Method making: Wilfredo Prieto embodies every aspect of Kurimanzutto

Method making: Wilfredo Prieto embodies every aspect of Kurimanzutto
Conceptual Cuban artist Wilfredo Prieto used Mexico City's Kurimanzutto gallery as his studio for over a month, in preparation for the current solo sculpture show 'You can't make a revolution with silk gloves'
(Image credit: Abigail Enzaldo)

Over the past two decades, Cuban artist Wilfredo Prieto has earned a reputation as a 'superminimalist' for his ability to tease out the sublime in ordinary, oft-overlooked objects (fruit, coins, liquids, matches.) His delicate interventions release them from their quotidian identities, turning them into utterly intoxicating sculptures (from a cubed watermelon, to a jumble of razor wire mimicking a cloud accumulation, and a flying helicopter tethered to a table.)

For his first solo exhibition with Mexico City’s Kurimanzutto, 'You can’t make a revolution with silk gloves', he moved to the city a month and a half prior to the 28 May opening and used the gallery as his studio. 'The main idea was to intervene the whole gallery,' says Prieto. 'The street, the reception, the kitchen, even the garden, thinking on the architecture and the function of each spot.'

To wit: he littered the cracks in the asphalt of the street outside the gallery with the dust of ten peso coins, while the floor and front wall of the reception area are joined in a Fred Sandbeck-style with an extended paper clip. Inside the interior courtyard, a plant-filled vestibule spouts call-in numbers from Cuban radio DJs, while the flashlight of a smartphone on the opposite wall ostensibly sheds light on a rope that runs into the main gallery and connects to a 20 ft piece of rebar. Above the rebar, hanging from a string, is a lone red alstroemeria flower that seemingly overlooks a folded stage curtain and a McCracken-esque lean-to sculpture made from plates of glass sourced from a local window shop.

The main gallery's corners are anchored, respectively, by a fan that blows a single piece of hair attached to a raisin and ten clippings from the artist’s fingernails. Meanwhile, in the rear courtyard Prieto has scented the tropical garden with Chanel No. 5, filled two drawers in the kitchen (one with table salt; the other with Maldon), and in the upstairs project space a tomato can filled with magnets rolls from one side of the room to the other, labouriously scratching a gesture into the back wall. 

'One has mental associations that allow us to associate objects with one idea and another naturally and spontaneously. I take full advantage of the symbolic connotation that the object has,' says Prieto. 'These [objects] work independently, but in another context they may have other meanings.'

Despite the dark Stalinist overtones of the show’s title, the unexpected connections in Prieto's organic interventions seem more applicable to the words of Che Guevara: 'The revolution is not an apple that falls when it is ripe. You have to make it fall.'

Method making: Wilfredo Prieto embodies every aspect of Kurimanzutto

Characterised by an almost shocking simplicity, Wilfredo Prieto's sculptures and installations function as a poetic commentary on social and political issues. Pictured: Dancing Hair with Raisin, 2015

(Image credit: Abigail Enzaldo)

Method making: Wilfredo Prieto embodies every aspect of Kurimanzutto

Hanging from a string is a lone red alstroemeria flower that seemingly overlooks a folded stage curtain and a McCracken-esque lean-to sculpture made from plates of glass sourced from a local window shop. Pictured: Transparent, Dark, Dirty, 2015

(Image credit: Abigail Enzaldo)

Method making: Wilfredo Prieto embodies every aspect of Kurimanzutto

The Cuban artist is known for his way of communicating with less, making provocative objects from items that might usually be easily overlooked. Pictured: Wilfredo Prieto

(Image credit: Abigail Enzaldo)

Method making: Wilfredo Prieto embodies every aspect of Kurimanzutto

The materials used by Prieto to create his conceptual installations vary, depending on the particular idea or the concept he is working on

(Image credit: Abigail Enzaldo)

Method making: Wilfredo Prieto embodies every aspect of Kurimanzutto

The artist tries to distance himself from his roots, preferring to to adopt a sort of detachment, in order to know himself better. Pictured: Egg and 8 Ball, 2016

(Image credit: Abigail Enzaldo)

Method making: Wilfredo Prieto embodies every aspect of Kurimanzutto

In the rear courtyard (pictured) Prieto has scented a tropical garden with Chanel No. 5

(Image credit: Abigail Enzaldo)

Method making: Wilfredo Prieto embodies every aspect of Kurimanzutto

With simple gestures, the artist suggests we distance ourselves from the day-to-day, to try to experience it in a new light. Pictured: Stone with Silk, 2016

(Image credit: Abigail Enzaldo)

Method making: Wilfredo Prieto embodies every aspect of Kurimanzutto

For one piece, Prieto filled two drawers with salt: one with table salt, the other with Maldon. Pictured: The No Name Salt and the Maldon, 2016

(Image credit: Abigail Enzaldo)

INFORMATION

’Wilfredo Prieto: You can’t make a revolution with silk gloves’ is on view until 27 August. For more information, visit Kurimanzutto’s website (opens in new tab)

Photography: Abigail Enzaldo, 2016. Courtesy the artist and Kurimanzutto, Mexico City

ADDRESS

Kurimanzutto
Gob. Rafael Rebollar 94
col. San Miguel Chapultepec 11850
Mexico City

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