Joao Castilho photography at 1500 Gallery, NY: Colors and Immensity
Exhitibion at 1500 Gallery, NY. October 3-27 2012. DISRUPTION
Last week, by chance, I opened a book of Art History, Prehistoric volume. I saw some 15,000 years ago sculptures and cave paintings, I knew very well them: Venus of Willendorf, Paintings of Gogul, Altamira or Lascaux… However, last week, by chance, a question was repeated unconsciously in my mind; ‘What does it happen with their faces? Why don’t these old sculptures and paintings have face? I know the answer is obvious, because they represent whatever person, never a concrete one. But the surprising reality is they never ever painted a human face. Then, it seems that the idea of a person, individually, didn’t exist in those old times where the tribe, a collective notion, was the only important truth.
It’s difficult for a Western citizen to understand that old mentality. All our Capitalist society is fighting for the difference and exclusiveness…, or at least this is what we learn every day when we watch TV or read news.
Yesterday, by chance, I saw some photos by Brazilian artist Joao Castilho, some photos of his series ‘Vacant Lot’ (currently exhibited at 1500 Gallery in New York) and I was absolutely impressed of his colors, technique and, above all, plot. Yes, I say ‘plot’ knowing I’m not speaking about a book.
Joao Castilho is a conceptual artist, deep and really personal. His artwork has been described as ‘Imaginary Documentary’ because his camera always takes another reality and shows us, citizens of the Western world, what we prefer to ignore but what is maybe knocking at our door, just in crisis.
‘Vacant Lot’ by Joao Castilho shows unemployed people hanging around ‘a vacant lot’ on the outskirts of Bamako, Mali. Again, as to the origins of mankind, people represent a collective, without personal faces, only icons of a different reality that is also the reality of our fears, hidden in the cellars of our (still) comfortable houses… Yesterday, by chance, I found the perfect image of our mirror: congratulations, Joao.
Joao Castilho’s exhibition at 1500 Gallery shows photos of his series ‘Spice’ too. Here, he describes interventions with spices (paprika and saffron) in Bolivia’s Uyuni Salt Flats. The artist plays with colors and materials with empty spaces and disruptions winking at the whole history of art, from Piet Mondrian and his search of purity to Land Art and intervention in landscape.
Mother Nature, where are our realities? Where the beginning and the end of our way? If you have ‘the chance’ study Joao Castilho’s photography, his artwork is full of questions and, also, of answers.
Joao Castilho’s bio
Joao Castilho is one of the most important art photographers to emerge in Brazil over the past decade. His work is one of the major pillars of what has been called “Imaginary Documentary,” but is not limited to this style. In his most recent bodies of work, Castilho has borrowed concepts from Land Art (Spice, Threads) and has also experimented with video and installation works (Between Rivers, Earthquake, Sudden Death). Some of his works are connected to literature (Whirlwind, Metamorphosis, Dead Weight). Another important feature of Castilho’s work is his very particular use of color (Marie Jeanne, Vacant Plot, Hotel Tropical, Underwater Landscape).
Castilho and his work have been recognized by all of the main Brazilian art photography prizes including the Marc Ferrez Photography Award (2010), the Conrado Wessel Foundation Photography Prize (2008) and the Porto Seguro Photography Prize (2005). Castilho has received grants from the National Foundation of Arts (2008); the Pernambuco Fine Arts Salon (2008); and the Pampulha Museum of Art (2005). His work is present in several public collections including: Musée d’Art Modern et d’Art Contemporain de Liège (Belgium), Noorderlicht Gallery (The Netherlands), Museum of Modern Art of Sao Paulo (Brazil), Sao Paulo Museum of Art (Brazil), Pampulha Museum of Art (Brazil), and the Museum of Modern Art of Bahia (Brazil), among others. He graduated in 2010 with an MA in Visual Arts from the Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil.
About 1500 Gallery
1500 Gallery is located in New York City’s West Chelsea gallery district and specializes in Brazilian photography – the first gallery in the world with this explicit focus. 1500 represents several of the most recognized Brazilian art photographers, both emerging and established, with works present in major collections in Brazil and worldwide. 8 of 1500’s photographers are present in the Sao Paulo Museum of Art’s collection of photography. 1500 was founded in 2010 by Alexandre Bueno de Moraes and Andrew S. Klug. For more information, visit http://www.1500gallery.com/
511 West 25th Street #607, New York, NY 10001