June 21, 2014 - S.M.A.K. - Wilfredo Prieto, David Bade & Instituto Buena Bista
June 21, 2014

Wilfredo Prieto, David Bade & Instituto Buena Bista

Left: Wilfredo Prieto, Estrella Muerta, 2010. Courtesy Gallery Nogueras-Blanchard, Barcelona/Madrid. Right: David Bade, Becoming insider, 2014.

Wilfredo Prieto
Speaking Badly about Stones 

David Bade & Instituto Buena Bista
Zwaan kleef aan (Swan, hold fast)

21 June–21 September 2014

Museum of Contemporary Art
N. de Liemaeckereplein (Citadelpark)
B – 9000 Ghent


Wilfredo Prieto
Wilfredo Prieto (b. 1978, Sancti Spiritus) is one of the most promising young artists to emerge from Cuba in recent years. He is often described as a ‘baroque minimalist’: although his images are always stripped back to the essence and make only minimal use of materials, Prieto injects a maximum of narrative power. He modifies objects in such a subtle way that the artist’s hand can hardly be discerned; at the same time the works are heavily laden with meaning, reinforced by their accurately chosen titles.  Although he does not shun the socio-political themes of his home country (and the rest of the world), his work also possesses a humorous lightness that puts problems into perspective and makes these topical issues more bearable without however reducing them to banality.

The exhibition at S.M.A.K., titled Speaking Badly about Stones, is the first retrospective cross-section of Wilfredo Prieto’s artistic practice over the past 15 years, from his graduation in 1999 to today. It is supplemented by a new site-specific installation which Prieto created for this exhibition, and two works connecting the museum building with its immediate geographic environment. In particular the exhibition focuses on the more or less neglected socio-critical aspect of the artists’ oeuvre. Since his artistic beginnings, Prieto has addressed pressing political and economic issues in his work. This approach makes it possible to frame and platform Wilfredo Prieto’s post-minimal practice in a broader discourse on such contemporary topics as (over)consumption, energy waste and (hyper)capitalism. 

To accompany the exhibition, the first overview of Wilfredo Prieto’s work will published by Mousse Publishers of Milan. It includes contributions from Gerardo Mosquera, Guillaume Dessanges, Gabriel Orozco, Wilfredo Prieto and Thibaut Verhoeven. It was co-produced by S.M.A.K., Ghent, and Kunstverein Braunschweig, and with the support of Gallery Nogueras Blanchard, Barcelona/Madrid, Gallery Annet Gelink, Amsterdam, Gallery Kurimanzutto, Mexico and Fundación Botín Santander, Madrid. The exhibition was made possible thanks to the generous support of Transport Mervielde NV, Bulterys Mobile Power Stations, Declercq NV and AC/E (Accion Cultural Espagna).

David Bade & Instituto Buena Bista
David Bade (b. 1970, Curaçao) broadened and intermingled the disciplines of sculpture, assemblage and painting in an outspoken and rebellious way to create a new visual idiom in line with his contemporaries of the 1990s, including artists such as Erik van Lieshout, Honoré d’O, Jason Rhoades et al. Nowadays, David Bade creates tremendously expressive, room-filling installations with sculptures and drawings, scattered with short pieces of writing. Furthermore, Bade organizes community projects and workshops on the Caribbean islands, in Europe and in Africa.  Social cooperation is not a supplement to his artistic practice, but above all a way of triggering his own imagination and creativity and that of all the participants involved.

In 2006, David Bade co-founded an art school in Curaçao: the Instituto Buena Bista (IBB). With IBB, he provides a platform for contemporary art that simultaneously stimulates awareness and the enrichment of the indigenous cultural heritage, while introducing to the island new cultural developments from around the world. As the school is situated in a psychiatric institution it has acquired a unique profile: that of a cultural institution that connects contemporary art with questions of identity, education and psychiatry. For Swan, hold fast, David Bade has created an interactive Gesamtkunstwerk in S.M.A.K. and the public space in Ghent. Starting from one of his older sculptures, which belongs to the permanent collection of S.M.A.K., Wailing Wall (1996), he builds a sweltering environment, mixing older work, new creations and an artistic intervention by the Instituto Buena Bista. Later in the summer, Swan, hold fast gets a counterpart in the historic centre of Ghent: Under the market hall some of the founders and students of Instituto Buena Bista will build a new wailing wall in cooperation with various groups of inhabitants. The exhibition is supported by: Sikkens Foundation, Akzo Nobel, Mondriaanfonds, and Electrabel.

Press contact: Eline Verbauwhede, eline [​at​] smak.be / T +32 9 240 76 60


Wilfredo Prieto, David Bade & Instituto Buena Bista at S.M.A.K.
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