Roq la Rue, September 2008
Canibal Song II, Acrylic on paper, 26 x 20 cm - 2008
Despierte el hombre, despierte,
despierte por un momento,
despierte toda la patria
antes que se abran los cielos
y venga el trueno furioso
con el clarín de San Pedro,
y barra los ministerios,
me voy, me voy.
Wake up, men, wake up, / wake up for a second, / wake up the whole nation / before the heavens open / and the furious thunder comes / with Saint Peter’s bugle, / crying I am, / and sweeps the ministries away / I go, I go.
Violeta Parra, from the lyrics of the song "Segun a favor del viento"
For his first solo exhibition in USA, Victor Castillo has chosen a biblical title taken from the lyrics of a song by Violeta Parra, a communist Chilean folk musician and visual artist. The title and the decontextualized lyrics are a statement of Castillo’s contempt for western society’s fundamentalism. Expansive politics – bombing, invasion and imposition of the self culture in foreign countries –, racism, omnipresence of violence, weapons culture, extremist Catholicism, etc. are some of the subjects of his new series of paintings. He depicts decadent aspects from our society through the use of an apocalyptical visual poetry. Once again, children are the main actors in the artworks. They portray dark scenes where toys become weapons and cruelty replaces innocence. They act as metaphors but are actually not so far from reality when compared to facts like the trends in youth towards broadcasting their own violence and executing brutality without compassion or recognition of actual consequences.
Castillo was raised in a humble neighbourhood in Santiago de Chile, a conflictive political and social environment, being the country under the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. If historically Chile had been strongly influenced by the post-colonial Spain, during this period politics, economy and culture were heavily influenced by Wasington, the strength of the dollar and Hollywood. Victor developed since then an ambiguous relationship with the US. For him it was a country that exerted a colonial-style influence but brought a culture which fast became his main source of inspiration, far from anything else he had known before. In his first solo exhibition in Spain his paintings related a love and hate feeling towards Spain and Chile, the paintings in this first solo show in the USA ooze with a trace of ambiguous admiration and criticism towards the US.
Castillo goes one step further in his technique, which was rather literal, flat and illustrative in the very beginning of his career, developing towards thick atmospheres showing a grasp in the use of light and colour. His main influences are on animation (Ren and Stimpy, The Simpsons, vintage animation, etc.) and pop surrealism-related artists such as Manuel Ocampo, Mark Ryden or Gary Baseman. Recently, he’s been focusing on classic masters of painting such as Goya or Velázquez, giving birth to an even more personal and adult style.
Before the heavens open, Acrylic on canvas, 100 x 100 cm, 2008
I ve seen that face before (Libertango, Acrilico sobre tela, 100 x 100 cm, 2007-08
Game Over, Acrilico sobre tela, 100 x 100 cm, 2007-08
Red Bats with Teeth, Acrylic on canvas, 100 x 100 cm, 2007-8
Un tornado arrazo mi ciudad y mi jardin primtivo,Acrylic on canvas, 145 x 145 cm - 2008
Roq La Rue Gallery
"Purveyors Of Fine Pop Surrealismand Contemporary Art Since '98"
2312 2nd Ave
Seattle WA 98121