Wilfredo Prieto and Neïl Beloufa at Mendes Wood DM, São Paulo
We can gather that the set of works presented by Wilfredo Prieto in his first exhibition at the Mendes Wood DM gallery establishes itself at the cornerstones of duality. The distinct objects that echo in chain, at times intermittent and often peremptory, transfer to the spectator a silence that instigates and unsettles through its outcry. They are particles originating from a work of intense observation on the part of the artist who subverts the senses by presenting a handful of objects that lead us ad infinitum to the valiant unconditional act of the specular eternal. He subtly provides clues that enable us to unveil the distinct variations that resonate from the setbacks of contemporary communication. The character of the immediate that’s necessary when looking at one thing or another presented in the exhibition space assumes and takes shape in small projects rife with thought that inspires us and moves us to confront that which suddenly appears ephemeral but which, on another scale, offers us all the tools to in some way solidify them in our retina in a lasting manner.
If for Freud the essence of humor is the sparing of affection, we can use this as the starting point for confronting an artist who cannot be reduced to the simple longings of our comprehension and who, to a certain extent, provokes us in the infinite zones where his gaze circulates upon objects. Occasionally this path reflects the acid and unfailing taste of the witticism which, never by mistake, remains quite dear to his narrative. Todavia Prieto is assertive in patiently leading us in a way that makes us oscillate between his apolitical manner of conceptualizing the debate – a way that is also invariably of use to us when in the necessary and ordinary act of taking of a position in recognizing a work of art – not sparing us any of the hypotheses suggested by it.
There is a metaphysical confrontation in Batatas-Pedras that is extended right at the room’s entrance. There, on the ground, the insidious terrain where the clash takes place which ends up modulating the passerby’s path through the entire exhibition, the artist intermediates so that we step cautiously on this ground laden with sinuous inquiries. Traversing this field the spectator comes across the Truck head, Pig head and all the sumptuousness of this installation which immediately contrasts with the minimalism of the other works on display. This Manichaeism – so singular in the artist’s body of work – here leads us to understanding the various chimeras of this utopian mirror of re-readings of and suggestions concerning the human condition and its fragile web of convictions. In Billetes perdidos (Ángulo muerto / Dead Angle) from 2006, the enchantment of Prieto’s verve suggests that we reflect on the infinite longing in the inexorable variants of the eternal search that insinuates itself, while, at the same time, distancing itself a bit more from the fortune of the real and the palpable.
Wilfredo Prieto’s such plural language and repertoire make us look cautiously to the angles forgotten by the vicious exercise of our gaze. The practice of confrontation between the disposable and the urgent – which has been employed on countless occasions to suppress more profound thinking currently reflected by our peers in society – unfolds here in a narrative that instigates the investigation of the countless meanings in the linguistic field. The complex web of contradictions so present in the world of meanings exposed by Prieto is subtly laid upon the canons of minimalism. Yet, when turning our gaze with greater caution to this accumulation of objects, we perceive that this vein flows beyond the profound criticism of our fondness for an excessive attachment to the material, also extending to the prompt distraction to which we are submitted from the perception of what is necessary and the mechanisms that explore the varied meanings of our gaze. We can ultimately return our gaze to a certain attention to the apolitical thought that blooms from the artist’s inquiries and also to the systematic study of the human condition which has always suggested an irrefutable production that is necessary for the monochord of our time.
at Mendes Wood DM, São Paulo
until 11 November 2017
Mendes Wood DM is pleased to present 20xx, Neïl Beloufa’s second solo exhibition at the gallery. Revolving around the multiple paradoxes inherent to our consumer culture, the artist presents a series of new works that appropriate commercial images in order to look at contemporary systems of representation. He shows a painfully ironic vision, committed to the future of our social structures, in which aesthetics and language are at the service of a reality that is molded and explored according to the interest of big industries.
Demagogically ecological solutions — which supposedly satisfy contemporary global needs without compromising future generations — are often used by multinational companies that claim their commitment to sustainability through advertisements, even when their responsibility for an excessively polluted world is evident. Such public policies of the irresponsible means of production and the creation of a soft discourse in order to mitigate the damage constitute one of the issues which are tackled in the artist’s research for this exhibition.
Air hoses are installed inside animal sculptures made out of shopping bags and product labels, reiterating the reflection about the reality that is projected as the creation of a desire or the false need for something. A dystopian environment is created in the exhibition space and the artist acts in complicity with the spectator, activating stereotypes that pertain to everyday life. Working with antagonisms between originality and standardization, between the body and its virtual avatars, violence and marketing, domination and emancipation, Beloufa sets forth a vision of the present through a post- apocalyptic lens. In the following room, a wall with several holes covers a light installation, projecting various colors onto the back of the room. Once again, the excess of images and information turns the exhibition space into an environment.
at Mendes Wood DM, São Paulo
until 11 November 2017