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Former diplomat Jota Castro opens largest exhibition of his work at Museum Het Domein
Jota Castro, London Calling, 2012, flag, safety pin, 200 x 290 cm. Photo: Courtesy Galerie Barbara Thumm, Berlin.
SITTARD.- Jota Castro (Lima, Peru, 1965), a French-Peruvian artist living in Brussels, Belgium, is one of today’s most prominent activist artists. At the end of the 1990s he retired from his work as a diplomat at the European Union and the United Nations to devote himself fully to his activities as an artist and curator. Castro has curated exhibitions including The Fear Society / Pabellón de la Urgencia for the 2009 Venice Biënnale and more recently, Dublin Contemporary 2011. In his artistic work, he exposes the machinations of contemporary (consumer) society, sometimes with biting, politically incorrect humor, and he champions the protection of intellectual freedom and democracy. Castro’s exhibition at Museum Het Domein deals with problems caused by the global economic crisis and developments in European politics.

In a 2005 interview with Jerôme Sans, Jota Castro posited that ‘Society is changing and the powers that be are getting scared. People are looking for new references, they’re in search of information, they’re discussing it, sharing it. Our society is like clay waiting to be redefined, to be modeled unambiguously. For an artist, our age is the best of times!’ The artist’s recent work embodies a hope for radical change to our (consumer) society. In a visual register that could be characterized as political minimalism, Castro reflects on such diverse subjects as crippling mortgages in the United States, recent genocides, the migration out of Africa, our dependence on oil, Chinese-American trade relationships, the destruction of the Amazonian rainforest due to Western consumption, and other forms of economic and ecological exploitation of Latin America.

The exhibition Motherfuckers never die is the largest solo exhibition of Castro’s work in the Netherlands. A large selection of the artist’s recent drawings, sculptures, and installations, supplemented by a few older key works, are on display. Many of these works have not been previously shown or have been created especially for the exhibition. The exhibition takes its name from a new sculpture, created for the occasion, that condemns drastic cuts to the Dutch cultural budget. Such attacks on the freedom of expression have always been an issue, the artist states, and he hopes bring this to the viewer’s attention. In this context, Castro’s work can be seen as an arena for free speech, subversive positions, and the desire for hopeful radical alternatives.

On Sunday, October 7th, at 2pm, Jota Castro will speak about his work and will hold a conversation with Museum Het Domein’s curator of contemporary art, Roel Arkesteijn.





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