In her solo exhibition, ‘The Shining of Our Design’, Sista Pratesi creates an installation of paintings that explore the power of belief systems and the structures that are created to enforce them.

The installation presents both a pictorial space – depicted in the paintings – as well as a physical space through which the audience can move: as the paintings depict an experience, the physical structure creates an experience. A framework constructed of canvases facing in alternating directions winds through the gallery, inviting the viewer to meander along its serpentine length.

The desire to let go and succumb to a belief system that is all seeing and all encompassing is deeply hypnotic. Unfolding in these paintings is the subtle temptation to give up one’s own autonomy in the face of surrounding systems of power and control. Some show strange, lurking figures that seem involved in some arcane ritual, wholly intent on their own mysterious actions, while interspersed with these are images of doors – but doors that are warped and damaged and offer only a pretence of escape. Like a hall of mirrors, there seems no way out, but an endless journey between an interior and exterior world that surrounds and engulfs the viewer.

Sista Pratesi was born in Aberdeen, UK, in 1966 and lives and works in London, UK. She attended the Slade School of Art, London, and was awarded the Abbey Fellowship at the British School at Rome in 2002. Solo exhibitions include ‘The Living End’, Gimpel Fils, London (2012), ‘New Thought Unity’, Gimpel Fils, London (2008-09), and ‘Black Christmas’, Galleria In Arco, Torino, Italy (2003). Group shows include ‘Alternative States’, Gimpel Fils, London, ‘Model Worlds’, BCA Gallery, County Clare, Ireland (2009), ‘Weimar Republic’, Curtain Road, and ‘Mirror Mirror’, Jerwood Gallery, London (2007).