Ariel Schlesinger, Wilfredo Prieto:
'Thank you, gracias'
Sat 20 January – Sat 10 March, 2018. Madrid
NoguerasBlanchard presents Thank you, gracias, an exhibition by Ariel Schlesinger and Wilfredo Prieto.
Following their first collaboration in Tel-Aviv’s Center of Contemporary Art in 2014 Schlesinger and Prieto engage in a dialogue about the possible connections between objects, events, works of art or artists, a recurring concern in Schlesinger’s practice. On this occasion, he proposes friendship as one of the possible criteria underpinning the curatorial process. Unlike their first joint project, in which both artists worked on the conceptualization of the works, in Thank you, gracias they decided not to consult eachother previously and were unaware of the other’s ideas until the time of installation. The act of thinking about one’s work in relation to the other becomes an exercise in self-knowledge in which both artists create a single body of work (the exhibition) imagining the other’s work, based on what the other expects of theirs. This leads to a role play in which questions of authorship are diluted and the boundaries between the subjetive and objective are challenged.
Thank you, gracias allows for a deeper undertsanding of the intertextual nature that underlies Schlesinger and Prieto’s Works as it forces them to live together under very particular conditions, favoring the emergence of connections between elements that wouldn’t necesarily have them. According to Schlesinger, the exhibition aims to generate a space where the viewer can discover relationships between the artist’s works rooted in their friendship, their conversations, past exhibitions, the similarity of the objects used – a stick, a bottle – despite employing different techniques. Even if these links are not found, the process itself creates a fertile filed where levels of meaning can take root and grow.
Schlesinger and Prieto are two artists of the same generation whose sculptures and instalations mark a compelling development in the articulation of Conceptual art. Reframing the conversation surrounding the demateralization of the art object, Thank you, gracias highlights similar strategies in their practice such as the humorous and inventive approach to everyday materials, a subtle conceptual language to comment on political realities and a clear understanding of Duchampian appropiation strategies. A masterful transformation of ordinary objects through minor gestures and interventions, stripping them of their natural form, context and function, recalling Levi-Strauss’s bricoleur, doubling their potency as art objects.
With special thanks to Dvir Gallery, Tel Aviv/Brussels.