In daily life humans not only communicate through written or oral expression but also through the presence of objects placed in private or public spaces that belong to us and share our routine or that we just use eventually or in a socialized way.
The object that remains, lasts, that rests its loneliness of human pain, is the imprint of passerby, owner, and user. It is not difficult then to recognize the hierarchy they can acquire from their intervention in our lives, or rather, from the role they assume at some point, thanks to unusual events or incidental proposition of an inspired compiler, as Wilfredo Prieto presents us in Ping-pong cuadrícula, his latest exhibition at the National museum of Fine Arts (MNBA by its Spanish acronym), as collateral sample of the 12th Biennial of Havana.
The presence of the object refers to the gesture of the person who carries or chooses it to be counted as artwork. The gesture acquires then a special significance as it is the result of a conscious act of creation that is aimed at producing certain effect on the viewer. That gesture is no longer the one of the brush on the canvas, where the subject of the expression is usually an accumulation of images created from pigment or crayons on a two dimensional surface. That gesture is the irrepressible craving for a creative will, driven by an idea, a concept that cannot be expressed through the free will of its author.
Art as a sublimated expression of subjectivity is not limited to being a carrier of subjectivity of those who makes it, the artist, but also depends on the subjectivity of who enjoys it, the spectator. Only the spontaneous exchange between the two legitimizes the invulnerability of any artistic work: even if the fact is not understood, the contact itself is already a form of understanding.
In my opinion Ping-Pong , uses the bewilderment and perplexity, no matter if it stumbles first on Dos zapatos y dos medias, or with an authentic become a mathematically perfect cube. It is playing, to establish a playful exchange that may or may not become a deep contextual, Cartesian and phenomenological examination of the Cuban reality, the global world or the quantum universe. Ping-Pong does not require or need, nor denies such operatories. Because art can consist at that moment of free contemplation, in which we realize that everything we perceive tears us to the desire of ordering and aesthetically understand what surrounds us. Once discovered this simple truth (the poet would say), we can get into this game of ping-pong that will take us from a car tire (Desahogo) to two rolls of newsprint arranged as toilet paper on a tiled wall (Discurso). Or from a loaf of bread, literally said (bread with bread) to two fans with two separate axes of rotation: vertical and horizontal (Sí/No), or from a simple pen (Infidelidad) to a crystal ball (Futuro incierto).
As can be inferred from the titles, each piece tries to reassign itself a function or meaning that transcends its ordinary condition. In that sense he operates with the same analogy used by Marcel Duchamp (his spiritual mentor) when giving name to his Urinario-Fuente. These are just simple clues to provoke the viewer and encourage his participation in a game of free associations. This way of connecting with the public scares the cryptic meaning of art and desecrates its condition as original, unique, inimitable and pantheistic phenomenon.
Ping-pong cuadrícula amazes, disconcerts, provokes, alludes, suggests, incites; inflames the desire to participate and encourages the playful sense of relationship with art. This whole repertoire of actions and emotions is the fundamental tool W. Prieto uses in his dialogue with the recipient. These words are his: “My ideas come, I think, from everyday experience, and I think my work as an artist is not really to create these ideas but to grab them. The ideas are floating in reality, like clouds. You can see them and take them. They belong to everyone, do you understand?”