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February 12 — March 12, 2021
University Gallery


Curatorial Statement

With Coliseum, Javier Castro pushes the limits of traditional audio-visual reception

and raises ethical questions concerning the pursuit of money and diversion.

The artist uses multiple video and audio channels to broadcast a fistfight that took place in Havana, Cuba on six large screens spread across the gallery floor. Through this fragmented arrangement both ethical and perceptual limits are pushed within the space of the gallery.

Multiple aspects of the fight are displayed on the screens, from the social hierarchy of the human participants to the perspective of the battling animals. The main actions take center stage in the organization of the screens, while secondary events are projected on the periphery. In this way, the viewer is encouraged to move throughout the space to fully access the artist’s vision. Through this fragmented configuration, the viewer is confronted with a divided audio-visual experience from which to piece together the plot and meaning. Through the liberation of the audio from the video and the video from a singular cohesion, freedom is gained that allows the participant to associate various sounds with different images, modifying the work to their choosing, and ultimately, creating their own narrative.

Javier Castro: Coliseum is part of the forthcoming exhibition series Plural Domains / Selected Works from the Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation Collection, which seeks to explore important questions concerning contemporary Latin American Art. Coliseum was selected as the winner of the Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation (CIFO) Grant and Commission Program in 2015.

Castro (b. 1984) is a Cuban artist whose work focuses on the use of video and multimedia installations to explore the human experience and modes of survival. Castro examines Cuban contemporary society by presenting a unique perspective of diverse realities; from pleasures and frustrations, to vice and violence, language and love, and the other hidden complexities of life. He allows the human voice within the work to speak directly to the viewer, without manipulating or judging his subjects. Castro has been awarded several grants and commissions. His work has been shown in more than fifteen countries from the United States to Senegal, Columbia to the United Kingdom. He lives between Cuba, the U.S. and the Middle East.

Mark Hodges

Virtual Tour | Javier Castro: Coliseum (EN)

Video Production: Mark C. Hilbert

Visita Virtual | Javier Castro: Coliseum (ES)

Video Production: Mark C. Hilbert

Installation Shots

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