Solo Show – Rob Pruitt
18 November — 23 December 2001
'Jorge Luis Borges was convinced that the best metaphors are trite and well worn. 'Life is a dream', 'love is a journey' or 'hope is a child' are the literary equivalents to image of rainbows, sunset and butterflies. Unshamedly these popular tropes are migrating from mass and folk culture to the contemporary avant-garde where they are made even more fantastic than their natural world counterpart.
Instead rainbows and butterflies have come to symbolize a magical new world where order is without hierarchies, edification is without snobbishness, prosperity is without greed' (Michelle Grabner, Frieze, June-August 2001).
This is the world of Rob Pruitt who acts as a conduit, shuffling images from mass culture to high art production.
The visitor that enters the gallery is visually stimulated by big canvases showing pandas involved into everyday actions such as feeding and relaxing.
This animal has become Pruitt's own brand-name icon; his skin colour, black and white in equal parts, symbolizes the yin-yang, the racial harmony and the universal balance.
The symbol of the WWF is also a pretence that helps us to reflect on the fragility of the world, on how man exploits the planet and of course on pandas extinction.
In his first solo show in Torino, Pruitt also presents a water fountain holding almost the entire room of Galleria Franco Noero. The installation has been realized through mineral water cardboard boxes arranged in a big circle. In the centre a water-spout from a hydraulic display throws the visitor into a sensation of catarsi.
Panda canvases and the water fountain installation are shown together for the first time in the same place.
The spectator will have the impression to walk through a zoo so that in the meanwhile he will be able to quench his thirst.
Born in 1964 in Washington DC, Rob Pruitt lives and works in New York. His work has previously appeared in a number of solo and group shows both in U.S.A. and abroad. Among them '2nd annual Flea Market' and 'Pandas and Bamboo', Gavin Brown' enterprise, New York, 2001; his solo show at the Contemporary Art Center, Cincinnati, Ohio; '101 Art Ideas You Can Do Yourself', Gavin Brown' enterprise, New York, 1999; Leo Castelli Gallery, New York, 1992; 'Protest and Survive', Whitechapel Art Gallery, Londra, 2000;'Post-POP, Post-PUNK', Museum of Contemporary Art, Washington DC, 2000; 'Greater New York', PS1, New York, 2000.