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Biography

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wilfredo prieto

1978, Sancti Spiritus, Cuba

Characterized by an almost shocking simplicity, Wilfredo Prieto's sculptures and installations function as tools for exploring social and political issues with a poetic sensibility. His work questions the underlying structures of contemporary culture and reflects on consumption, society, and thought systems themselves. Although Prieto initially trained as a painter, his work eschews classification within a specific medium. While some of his projects are very technically ambitious, the majority of his actions and gestures occupy extremely subtle territory, inviting a certain distancing from everyday experience. Appropriating from the world around him, the artist uses what is at hand to give form to radical, precarious and fragile gestures. His ideas, which function as open metaphors or narratives, are translated into the language of familiar objects and materials. Standing against contemporary society's oversaturated, frantic rhythms, Prieto proposes communicating with the essentials: even when it risks going unnoticed, the simplest thing can often be the most compelling.

Wilfredo Prieto studied at the Escuela Profesional de Artes Plásticas in Trinidad, Cuba, from 1992 to 1996; afterwards he attended the Instituto Superior de Arte in Havana from 1998 to 2002. During this period he was a member of the artist collective Galería DUPP (Desde Una Pragmática Pedagógica), with whom he received the UNESCO Prize for the promotion for the Arts in 2000. He has participated in residencies at Headlands, San Francisco, United States (2015); Gasworks, London, United Kingdom (2008); Le Grand Café, St. Nazaire, France (2007); John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, New York, United States (2006) and the Kadist Art Foundation, Paris, France (2005).

Wilfredo Prieto currently lives and works in Havana, Cuba. 

Selected Works

Selected Works Thumbnails

walk, 2000
ornamental plant, ground and wheelbarrow

performance documentation

 

 

scale of values, 2001
rum, wine, beer, soft drink, water, plastic glasses
4.33 in. high x 2.76 in. diameter

 

 

apolitical, 2001

flags, poles

variable dimensions 

 

matryoshka, 2001

cement tank, iron tank, earthenware jar, plastic dish, aluminium dish, porcelain jar, crystal glass, water

47.24 in. high, 39.37 in. diameter

 


untitled (globe of the world), 2002

ink on chickpea
0.02 in.

 

 

yes/no, 2002
ventilators
66.93 in.

 

 

much ado about nothing, 2003

electric generator, water pipe, hose, cables, lamp, plant

variable dimensions 

 

much ado about nothing, 2003

electric generator, water pipe, hose, cables, lamp, plant

variable dimensions

 

much ado about nothing, 2003

electric generator, water pipe, hose, cables, lamp, plant

 

variable dimensions 

 

avalancha, 2003

straight line made with spheres assembled from smallest to largest

1,653.54 in.

installation view of balancing the curve, hangar bicocca, milan, 2012

 

untitled (crane), 2006

crane trying to lift itself

2,362.2 in.

installation view at madrid abierto 06, 2006

 

grease, soap, and banana, 2006

grease, soap, banana peel

9.84 in. diameter

 

smart gum, 2008

chewing gum

variable dimensions 

 

politically correct, 2009

watermelon

variable dimensions

 

holy water, 2009

puddle of holy water

variable dimensions 
installation view at IV bienal de jafre, spain, 2009

 

tied up to the table leg, 2011

table, rope, helicopter

variable dimensions 

installation view of tied up to the table leg, ca2m centro de arte dos de mayo, madrid, 2011

 

sad circus, 2012

circus

dimensions variable

installation view at XI bienal de la habana, 2012

 

an illuminated rock, an unilluminated rock, 2012

stones, light

variable dimensions 

 

two shoes and two socks, 2012

shoes, socks

variable dimensions

 

two stones and a mirror, 2012

stone, mirror

variable dimensions

 

the more you add, the less you see, 2011

cling film

66.92 in.

 

walk, 2000
ornamental plant, ground and wheelbarrow

performance documentation

 

 

scale of values, 2001
rum, wine, beer, soft drink, water, plastic glasses
4.33 in. high x 2.76 in. diameter

 

 

apolitical, 2001

flags, poles

variable dimensions 

 

matryoshka, 2001

cement tank, iron tank, earthenware jar, plastic dish, aluminium dish, porcelain jar, crystal glass, water

47.24 in. high, 39.37 in. diameter

 


untitled (globe of the world), 2002

ink on chickpea
0.02 in.

 

 

yes/no, 2002
ventilators
66.93 in.

 

 

much ado about nothing, 2003

electric generator, water pipe, hose, cables, lamp, plant

variable dimensions 

 

much ado about nothing, 2003

electric generator, water pipe, hose, cables, lamp, plant

variable dimensions

 

much ado about nothing, 2003

electric generator, water pipe, hose, cables, lamp, plant

 

variable dimensions 

 

avalancha, 2003

straight line made with spheres assembled from smallest to largest

1,653.54 in.

installation view of balancing the curve, hangar bicocca, milan, 2012

 

untitled (crane), 2006

crane trying to lift itself

2,362.2 in.

installation view at madrid abierto 06, 2006

 

grease, soap, and banana, 2006

grease, soap, banana peel

9.84 in. diameter

 

smart gum, 2008

chewing gum

variable dimensions 

 

politically correct, 2009

watermelon

variable dimensions

 

holy water, 2009

puddle of holy water

variable dimensions 
installation view at IV bienal de jafre, spain, 2009

 

tied up to the table leg, 2011

table, rope, helicopter

variable dimensions 

installation view of tied up to the table leg, ca2m centro de arte dos de mayo, madrid, 2011

 

sad circus, 2012

circus

dimensions variable

installation view at XI bienal de la habana, 2012

 

an illuminated rock, an unilluminated rock, 2012

stones, light

variable dimensions 

 

two shoes and two socks, 2012

shoes, socks

variable dimensions

 

two stones and a mirror, 2012

stone, mirror

variable dimensions

 

the more you add, the less you see, 2011

cling film

66.92 in.

 

notable solo exhibitions

notable solo exhibitions

His most important exhibitions include: Fake News, Galería Habana, Cuba (2020); Ana Mendieta, Tropic-Ana, NorguerasBlanchard, Barcelona (2019); Dans la rue Saint-Gilles, Brownstone Foundation, Paris (2018); Wilfredo Prieto - En la mente De Dios (In the mind of God), NoguerasBlanchard, Barcelona (2017); no se puede hacer una revolución con guantes de seda, kurimanzutto, Mexico City (2016); Error de sistema, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo del Zulia, Maracaibo, Venezuela (2015); Ping-pong cuadrícula, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Havana, Cuba (2015); Speaking Badly about Stones. S.M.A.K, Ghent, Belgium (2014); Dejándole algo a la suerte, Sala de Arte Público Siqueiros, Mexico City, Mexico (2012); Balancing the curve, Pirelli HangarBiccoca, Milano, Italy (2012); Amarrado a la pata de la mesa, CA2M, Madrid, Spain (2011); Izquierda/Derecha, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Vigo (Marco), Vigo, Spain (2011); A moment of silence, Artists Web Projects, Dia Art Foundation, New York, United States (2007); Mute, McMaster Museum of Art, Hamilton, United States (2006); Dead angle, Kadist Art Foundation, Paris, France (2006); Mucho ruido y pocas nueces II. MUSAC, León, Spain (2005).

selected group exhibitions and biennials

Moreover, his work has been included in group exhibitions at institutions such as the Cranbrook Art Museum, Michigan, United States (2019); Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, United States (2017); South London Gallery (2016); Moscow Museum of Modern Art (2015); Centre Pompidou, Paris, France (2014); Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, United States (2014); MdM Museum der Moderne Salzburg Mönchsberg, Vienna, Austria (2013); CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Art, San Francisco, United States (2012); Museo Tamayo, Mexico City, Mexico (2012); Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD), Detroit, United States (2011); Pinchuk Art Center, Kiev, Ukraine (2010); National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, Oslo, Norway (2009); PS1 MoMA, New York, United States (2008); Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, Ireland (2005); among others.

Furthermore, his work has been part of biennials such as the 12th Istanbul Biennial, Turkey (2011); the 57th, 54th and the 52nd  Biennale di Venezia, Italy (2017, 2011 and 2007); the XIth Bienal Internacional de Cuenca, Ecuador (2011); the 11th Lyon Biennial, Lyon, France (2011); the 29th Sao Paulo Biennale (2010); the la XII, XII, XI, X, VIII y VII Habana Biennials, Cuba (2019, 2015, 2012, 2009, 2003 y 2000); and the 1st Singapore Biennial, Singapore (2006).

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