The unusually anachronistic work of the painter Oscar Castillo
The pictures of the artist Oscar Castillo, who has been living and working in Berlin, reflect an “outmoded” attitude, far away from the contemporary striving for public attention or image-making. No other thing than the artistical subject seems to matter to the artist in this case, and this in an extremely manner.
The works find their roots both in the school of European painting and Mexican culture, or to be more precise the oaxaquenic culture which is where the painter originates from. Something astonishing rises from these roots, namely an atmospheric independence. This independence can neither be linked to the sound of the colour range nor the rough surface of the painting affecting the tactile sense, nor to the bizarre signs and figures. All elements are rather interwoven and intensified to something that faces us like a living creature. This creature brings along a very self-confident atmosphere, which invites, or rather conjures us to dive into a strange but also well-known world. Have we forgotten the warm sound and the symbolism of this world? The world of mysticism, myths, legends and fairy tales seem to be nigh, but this experience does not rise from any tradition. The paintings do not cite anything. They get their mystification and magic from hidden sources accessible here and now apart from traditions – the paintings get their magic directly from life, where it is developed anew every day. That is exactly why they are so honest, so vivid, so breathing, so independent, so untouched and close.
Castillo transcends the old artistic tradition which sees art as a means of expression for that what cannot be said. His work transcends also the function of art to reflect the observer´s experience and imagination. And this is what gives the contemporary meaning to his work: it gets over the dependence of art on the art context as a pointing and reception system. Castillo´s art turns to an “effective cause with a soul”. It insists on uncapturable autonomy. So the painter takes the Act of Creation literally. but he does not imitate nature to create “something alive” in this way. He works with his own means, the means of painting. Castillo converts painting into its own vivid essence by the concrete usage of all its media and possibilities. This is the reason for his peculiarity to breathe life into the paintings.
From: Uli Hamprecht: From the essence of art to the nature of man. Berlin