05.04 until 29.06.2008

Although his visual idiom is always highly distilled, and uses only a minimal amount of material, Prieto is able to inject his work with a maximum amount of narrative power. Because of this ability, the viewer always sees highly condensed images that – in a highly efficient way – are almost overloaded with meaning. Which is not to say that Prieto’s work is always heavy – on the contrary. Although he is not afraid to address socio-political themes from his native Cuba (and the rest of the world), his work also possesses a humorous lightness that puts things into perspective, that makes the problems at hand more bearable without making them banal. The critical distance that Wilfredo Prieto takes with respect to the society in which he lives is best exemplified by his typically minimal alterations to everyday objects. He modifies these objects so subtly that the artist’s hand is scarcely detectable. At the same time, these minimal manipulations load his objects with meaning (often critical of society), which is further reinforced by aptly chosen titles. In principle, Wilfredo Prieto is an artist who prompts reflection by misleading the viewer. By changing objects and situations in a calculated way, which ensures that they just reach the point of losing their ‘readymade’ naturalness, Prieto tests our (un)willingness to see that object simply as its ordinary self, or to go beyond the point at which its banal exterior appears to be a disguise for aesthetic, ethical, cultural, or even social questions. For his exhibition in the S.M.A.K., Wilfredo Prieto has made an installation that is strongly aligned with the space of the museum, ‘Mountain’, which excels in minimalism, but of a poetic and engaged sort.

Participating artists:
Wilfredo Prieto, Wilfredo Prieto