Longitudes

Wilfredo Prieto wins The Cartier Award 2008




The Cartier Award 2008 has been awarded to Cuban artist Wilfredo Prieto (b. 1978). The award enables artists to realise a major project as part of Frieze Projects at the Frieze Art Fair, curated by Neville Wakefield, as well as to enjoy a 3-month residency at Gasworks, London, to produce the piece.

According to Frieze Art Fair 2008, "Prieto will present Pond, a site-specific installation of more than 100 oil drums. The mirrored pond-like effect created by water in the lids of the drums will be punctured by the presence and movement of a frog. The work will be a beautiful and poetic reflection on the current international obsession with accumulation and growth."


A version of the work is currently on view in the group show Latitudes curated with Ilaria Bonacossa at the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo in Turin as part of the exhibition “Greenwashing. Environment: Perils, Promises and Perplexities” (until 18 May).


To know more about Prieto's work, read the profile that appeared in Frieze Magazine (October 2007, Issue 110) and the images of 'Grasa, Jabón y Plátano' (2006) in 'Extraordinary Rendition', the exhibition we curated in NoguerasBlanchard (March 2007).

Following is an excerpt of the artist entry in the 'Greenwashing...' catalogue:

The artist’s most visible contribution to Greenwashing is Estanque (Pond) (2007), a new sculpture in which a congregation of crude oil barrels have seemingly been transformed into an idyllic, ‘eco-friendly’ lily pond habitat with the addition of water puddles and a live frog. Though the oil barrel is not commonly part of our everyday surroundings as a physical object, it has a familiar significance as the standard unit of volume for the production and consumption of petroleum, and as such, it is often cast as a symbol of all of the ills of fossil-fuel dependency. Furthermore, the price of a barrel is a global index of macroeconomic conditions, geopolitical stability, and the fundamentals of energy supply-and-demand. [1] The environment that Prieto has created by converting the petroleum containers is no more ‘natural’ than the oil itself – which is, after all, an organic substance. Yet the sculpture inevitably suggests the prospect of eco-advertising, as if its graphic visual summary of apparent amphibian-petroleum harmony could perfectly lend itself to an audacious company marketing department in a bid to demonstrate their ‘green’ industrial principles. [2] – Max Andrews

1. According to the 2007 CIA World Factbook, in Italy the equivalent of 32.1 barrels of oil are used each day for every 1000 people – or 11.7 barrels per person per year. The figure for the US is roughly double this estimate, and for Cuba, roughly half.
2. The connection to a recent Ford Motor Company campaign is irresistible: the well-known character Kermit the Frog appears pedalling on a bicycle singing his 1970 song ‘Bein’ Green’, before he spots a Ford Escape Hybrid in a verdant wood, ‘I guess it is easy being green’, Kermit declares. See www.youtube.com/watch?v=kKotANcNVyo

[Image: Wilfredo Prieto 'Estanque (Pond)', 2008. Oil barrels, water, frog. Courtesy the artist and Galería NoguerasBlanchard, Barcelona. Photo: Courtesy Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Torino]

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Founded in 2005 by Max Andrews and Mariana Cánepa Luna, Latitudes is a curatorial office based in Barcelona, Spain, that works internationally across contemporary art practices.

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