Mañana, cenizas

June 6 to
August 17, 2019

The use of imagination for the construction of religion and history has always been a tool of power and manipulation. We understand each other through history and we submit to it, or revolt against it, as well.

In his work, Marcos Castro has always played with this idea, camouflaging official historical elements with others of his own creation, both with the same fictional load. Standing before them, the spectator recognizes familiar, real elements, but which are accompanied by others of an abnormal or mythological origin, and which rarefy what is commonly considered as “real” and leave the spectator displaced, uncertain. The figurative elements of the works seem, upon first approach, to propose a realistic reading, but finally these works refer directly to the fantastic. The viewer, then, hesitates in front of the images, and in that hesitation between the real and the false, a space opens up in oneself (like a volcano) where one questions and is empowered by one’s own perception. That moment, that temporary and perceptive microclimate between the viewer and the piece, is to me the wonder that Castro achieves.

With this exhibition Marcos takes several positions against the “historical”. On the one hand, he decides to be part of “The history of painting” at a formal level, in this gesture he also joins a strong tradition such as landscape painting, especially in Mexico and specifically the vulcanological landscape tradition (not only present in painting if not also in poetry and literature).

One of his great models is Dr. Atl, who witnessed the birth of the Paricutín volcano in 1943, and for 5 years dedicated himself to its study and documentation. Dr. Atl left as a legacy a complete monograph and incomparable body of work of real and precise data of an event that, regardless of any amount of data, is simply extraordinary. Dr. Atl, like the traveling painters of yesteryear, wanted to give testimony of that historical event, that new reality that was manifested.

The “new”, the “unknown” in the painting always becomes eternal and undeniable. 

It is paradoxical that in a moment of hyper-connectivity and technology,when we believe we can control everything, what has put a brake on the speed of our reality and our idea of the future is the force of nature. The environmental impact that can change everything. Like the volcanoes that are born out of nowhere without warning, the earth opens up and emerges, manifesting itself in anger, imposing itself and making us small, vulnerable; in its face, we lose control, even over the course of history. 

Mañana cenizas [Tomorrow, ashes]: from the calm of some remote hill, Marcos paints this exhibition. Images of a possible future are seen on the horizon. From where he stands, he shares his point of view with his ancestors, these painters-explorers who also sat once upon this same imaginary hill. And when we look at them, we perceive them from another place, not from the calm of the hill. Some part of our body is inside these scenes, or was it already?, or does it know it can be? Our body recognizes itself as a part of that landscape. The future that Marcos sees is similar to the past that Marcos saw in his previous works. But this present-future is more desolate, more somber, strangely closer but strikingly more fantastic. There are burning skeletons, like trapped spirits, but also some “beings” are wandering in them, with which we automatically empathize. Alone, nomads, they move with backpacks or trappings by furious extensions. Their presence in the pieces, personally, give me some sense of security. As if they carried a knowledge that we do not, they convey to me in their gestures the certainty that they go towards the conquest of what could be the construction of a new order, of a new way of making history. I see the paintings and I feel that behind all the horizons of these pieces is where the future lies, that which we still do not know how to enunciate.

Domitila Bedel