Political perspectives: Nástio Mosquito and Theaster Gates at Fondazione Prada

Artworks of people with guns, using purples, blues and greens, and displayed on windows
This summer, two separate shows are opening at Fondazione Prada: 'TTT – Template Temples of Tenacity’ by Nástio Mosquito and 'True Value’ by Theaster Gates. Pictured: WEorNOT (Nastivicious’ Temple #01), by Nastivicious (illustrations in collaboration with Ada Diez), 2016. Photography: OKNOstudio
(Image credit: OKNOstudio)

The shining light flowing into the Fondazione Prada has been hindered for a slight moment. Over the summer months, the windows have been plastered in pop coloured cartoons, but with a subject matter that couldn’t be farther away from playful animation.

This enveloping piece is part of ‘TTT – Template Temples of Tenacity’, a three piece exhibition by multimedia artist Nástio Mosquito. These run in unison with Theaster Gates’ latest show ‘True Value’ in the same location – both interact with day-to-day rituals and trial them to new levels, marking a strong political moment at the Foundation.

But these two shows definitely don’t get tangled. While one openly invites a pious sentiment through choir performances and stained glass windows, the other focuses on a political message via the use of everyday products.

Mosquito’s piece in the windows is strongly titled WEorNOT. Inviting people at the entrance, this is a new site specific piece, illustrated by Ada Diez and produced by Mosquito’s collective Nastivicious, which he devised in collaboration with Vic Pereiró back in 2008. Transforming the Fondazione’s atrium into a ‘contemporary temple’, the vivid stained glass etchings evoke a psychedelic style, but here the figures have guns in hand, stand on philosophical and religious readings, or are in battle. ‘The artist invites us to his most critical endeavour yet,’ curator Elvira Dyangani Ose says. ‘Entering a space and time where judgment and evaluation are suspended, where things do not necessarily need to make sense, where – if one is up to the challenge— we are encouraged to lose ourselves in our own innate sensitiveness.’

Gates’ message is just as powerful, but with a more subtle delivery. Recreating a colour-coordinated hardware store environment on the first floor, the rough and raw pieces hone in on everyday survival. Titled True Value like the show itself, the layout delves into the products as symbols of power and struggle, via the people who encounter them. 'It alludes to the disappearance of local activities and pays tribute to the ready-made and everyday sphere,’ Gates divulges. ‘[It] denounces the failures of capitalism in valuing the individual, or tells the difficulties of a black neighbourhood that is struggling to find a new centre.’

The notion of 'you have to be there' is definitely emphasised with the duo of exhibitions as they both go deeper into their critique with separate performances and events. Mosquito has collaborated with musician Dijf Sanders, artist Chilala Moco and The Golden Guys choir for a performance I Make Love To You. You Make Love To Me. Let Love Have Sex With The Both Of Us and has plans for a cinematic audiovisual piece, Synchronicity Is My Bitch: The Cinematic Experience, in September. Meanwhile, 'True Value' will host a series of public meetings of debates and readings.

Man standing looking at artwork displayed on windows

The first of Mosquito's three pieces is WEorNOT – an intervention on the windows of the ground floor of the space, creating a ‘contemporary temple'. Photography: OKNOstudio

(Image credit: OKNOstudio)

Vivid stained glass etchings evoke a psychedelic style, but here the figures have guns in hand, stand on philosophical and religious readings, or are in battle

The vivid stained glass etchings evoke a psychedelic style, but here the figures have guns in hand, stand on philosophical and religious readings, or are in battle. Courtesy Nastivicious

(Image credit: TBC)

View of the stained glass style windows from the outside of the building

‘The artist invites us to his most critical endeavour yet,’ curator Elvira Dyangani Ose says. Pictured: WEorNOT (Nastivicious’ Temple #01), by Nastivicious (illustrations in collaboration with Ada Diez), 2016. Photography: OKNOstudio

(Image credit: OKNOstudio)

Light from the inside of the building shines through the stained glass

WEorNOT will be accompanied by a cinematic audiovisual piece in September titled Synchronicity Is My Bitch: The Cinematic Experience. Photography: OKNOstudio

(Image credit: OKNOstudio)

White and silver doodles on a bright red background

Mosquito has also collaborated with musician Dijf Sanders, artist Chilala Moco and The Golden Guys choir for a performance of I Make Love To You. You Make Love To Me. Let Love Have Sex With The Both Of Us, 2016. Illustrations: Robin Velghe. Courtesy Nástio Mosquito

(Image credit: TBC)

Wall featuring colour-coordinated hardware items

Gates’ message is just as powerful, but with a more subtle delivery. Recreating a colour-coordinated hardware store environment on the first floor, the rough and raw pieces hone in on everyday survival. Pictured: True Value, by Theaster Gates, 2016. Photography: Delfino Sisto Legnani Studio

(Image credit: Delfino Sisto Legnani Studio)

Display created from pegboards, with items from a hardware store

The set up delves into the products as symbols of power and struggle, via the people who encounter them

(Image credit: TBC)

Inside a hardware store with dark brown counter and leather upholstered stool

'It alludes to the disappearance of local activities and pays tribute to the ready-made and everyday sphere,’ Gates divulges

(Image credit: TBC)

INFORMATION

'Nástio Mosquito: TTT – Template Temples of Tenacity' and 'Theaster Gates: True Value' are on view until 25 September. For more information, visit the Fondazione Prada website (opens in new tab)

ADDRESS

Fondazione Prada
Largo Isarco
2, 20139 Milano, Italy

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