(Sancti Spíritus, Cuba, 1978)
Wilfredo Prieto’s work moves along intersecting paths that draw from various artistic traditions of the last few decades such as Minimalism, Arte Povera and Conceptual Art, but take these into a realm that is all his own. By means of minimal gestures and the use of everyday materials, Prieto engages acutely and poetically with complex aspects of contemporary reality. His projects may be realized as tiny sculptures or as large installations — often deployed on the floor of the exhibition space — which characteristically make a strong impression on the viewer and set us to reflecting on subjects such as courage, desire, consumerism, power relations and the impact of economic and political fluctuations, issues that go beyond the immediately contextual to point to questions of a philosophical and global nature.
In his practice, the artist is a kind of observer of reality, an explorer and investigator of the everyday whose function is reduced almost to pointing out and highlight certain aspects of the world, modifying their significance by means of small gestures that dislocate the perspective of reason and suggest new readings. Over and above accumulating objects in the studio, the dynamic is centred on observing reality and identifying spaces and objects that have the capacity to generate alternative reading. Our expectations as viewers are brought into play, and we take on an active role through our ability to read, understand and relate. We go home in meditative mood, aware that in this small displacement of the real something has occurred that leaves us feeling uneasy. Prieto’s is an art that can be read quickly but must be digested slowly.