When he began sketching his presentation for Expo Chicago 2022, Marcos Castro planned to continue exploring the imagery of his recent work around the idea of mestizaje, re-interpreting foundational myths and the history of Mexican art. But as he worked on the booth, he began to face both internal and external questions about his identity as an artist.
“The crude absence of identity” is the answer to those questions, a look into Castro’s psyche and a reflection of his nonlinear creative process that moves through various places and interests.
The main themes that have informed his body of work are present in this group of works: nature, identity, mestizaje, music and that which is understood as “Mexican.” New territories appear however regarding the private and conscious decision to represent emotions. This installation reveals Castro’s desire to begin a self-deconstruction of sorts wherein he observes and gives a place to the creative nature of feelings: the emojis represent these emotions as well as the mask itself and the patriarchal drive to mask them.
In this booth, the artist showcases a creative process that does not attempt to satisfy certain standards of the art world. In this system, the artists often feel the need to define their boundaries and be type-casted, limiting themselves as well as their own creativity and possible discourses. Castro’s defiance of those borders is a clear gesture of rebellion against the demands of the professionalization of art.
Perhaps the most important point of this defiance is that it finds a new political stance on identity, be it in a historical-political context or in the art world.
In the new approach that Castro articulates, we must first acknowledge ourselves as individuals in order to understand ourselves as a collective. Emotions and feelings may be the main tool to achieve it.