- Faith & Family
Theaster Gates’ Soul Manufacturing Corporation is about creating “soul.” His latest exhibit, which is being facilitated and supported by Locust Projects — an experimental art gallery— provides Gates with a unique opportunity. The exhibit will be a showcase that focuses on energy more so than the finished product.
“They told me I could make whatever I want.” Gates said. Ultimately, Gates decided to make ‘things.’ The gallery will be filled with clay bricks and bowls and other “things.”
Art is freedom
In addition to being afforded the opportunity to make whatever he would like to make, Gates does not have to be concerned with typical logistics that artists have learned to be so concerned with like sales. Because this specific exhibit is not about making art that will sell.
“We are more focused with the energy that goes into making things,” Gates said. While the artist does hope that others will be able to look upon his work for this exhibit and see something that they might want to buy, he recognizes the subjective views that follow exercising such creative freedom.
“It’s not art until I declare that it is art and hopefully some people will join me in calling this art.”
Gates factory exhibit will consist of four pavilions, occupied by “skilled makers” who will work in Locust Projects’ main gallery. Beginning with an empty space, the “skilled makers” will produce “things” through the duration of the exhibition.
Concurrently, Soul Manufacturing Corporation will host programs by a yoga instructor, a DJ and a reader — all there to care for the makers and the audience.
According to Locust Projects, Gates is known for his performances, installations and urban interventions; which by being both planner and sculptor — and subsequent time spent studying clay — has given him keen awareness of the poetics of production and systems of organizing. Playing with these poetic and systematic interests, Gates has assembled gospel choirs, formed temporary unions and used systems of mass production as a way of underscoring the need that the industry has for the body.
By Ju’lia Samuels