True Value by Theaster Gates at Fondazione Prada, Milan, through September 25, 2016

Elvira Dyangani Ose, exhibition curator, said, “If there is a particular ethos that has characterized Theaster Gates’s work in recent years, it is the formulation of the unimaginable as a common cause. It would be a misconception to believe that his attention to urban regeneration, social practice and blackness engages only the communities that his projects affect immediately. Instead, Gates’s immaterial gestures – as much as the objects he produces and the experiences he generates – are essentially a ‘call to arms’, raising awareness of the need for what American theorist and poet Fred Moten calls the ‘coalition’, or the recognition that what affects those communities subsequently affects the rest of us too; the acceptance that we are all in this together”.

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Theaster Gates (Chicago, 1973), True Value, 2016. The installation presents his rendition of an abandoned hardware store. True Value gathers materials, objects and tools removed from their original context and relocated in an art environment, deploying a framework to formulate a poetic and pragmatic space around objects of trade and human relationships those economic and labour exchanges create. Photo Delfino Sisto Legnani Studio.

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Theaster Gates, True Value, 2016. Photo Delfino Sisto Legnani Studio.

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Theaster Gates, True Value, 2016. Photo Delfino Sisto Legnani Studio.

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Installation view of the exhibition True Value by Theaster Gates. Photo Delfino Sisto Legnani Studio.

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Left: Theaster Gates, Cabinet Work, 2015. Right: Theaster Gates, True Value, 2016. Photo Delfino Sisto Legnani Studio.

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Installation view of the exhibition True Value by Theaster Gates. Photo Delfino Sisto Legnani Studio.

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Installation view of the exhibition True Value by Theaster Gates. Photo Delfino Sisto Legnani Studio.

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Theaster Gates, Ground Rules, 2015. Photo Delfino Sisto Legnani Studio.

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Theaster Gates, Boli, a Portion of the Team Lives in Heaven, 2014. Theaster Gates, A Portion of the Team Lives in the Heavens, 2016. Photo Delfino Sisto Legnani Studio.

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Theaster Gates, Boli, a Portion of the Team Lives in Heaven, 2014. Theaster Gates, A Portion of the Team Lives in the Heavens, 2016. Photo Delfino Sisto Legnani Studio.

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Theaster Gates Boli, a Portion of the Team Lives in Heaven, 2014 Theaster Gates, A Portion of the Team Lives in Heaven, 2016. Photo Delfino Sisto Legnani Studio.

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From left to right: Theaster Gates, Tar Mop and Bucket, Heirloom, 2014; Theaster Gates, Black Occult Practice Form #1, 2016. Theaster Gates, In the Absence of Corrugated Metal, 2015. Photo: Delfino Sisto Legnani Studio.

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Theaster Gates with Boli in his studio, Chicago, 2014. Photo by Sara Pooley.

Images courtesy Fondazione Prada.