The French-Peruvian artist is one of the most interesting and active artist today to propagate a political activism within his practice. In the late 1990s Jota Castro brought his career as a diplomat at the United Nations and the European Union to a close and decided to devote himself totally to the field of art.
Through his different professional activities, Castro gained in-depth knowledge of the world of politics; moreover, he considers his studies in law and political science as his real training in art. Conjuring up trivial humor, politically incorrect sarcasm, and a wide range of references, Castro’s sculptures, installations, and performances point up certain mechanisms at work in society, whose imbalances and weaknesses are skillfully highlighted by the artist. Castro’s works reinterpret facts connected with current events along with the artist’s personal history.
In the show the installation ‚Mortgage’ is emblematic for the artist’s concerns and issues. A mortgage is the transfer of an interest in property to a lender as a security for a debt – usually a loan of money. The term mortgage comes from the Old French ‚dead pledge’, apparently meaning that the pledge ends (dies) either when the obligation is fulfilled or the property is taken through foreclosure.
The work ‚Mortgage’ comes from the desire of the artist to violently illustrate the turmoil of our financial and economical system. Jota Castro choose the title Mortgage because of what the word means but also because generally speaking, the first to suffer from the crisis were normal people who could not pay their mortgage back.
“Those people are depressed, anxious. The situation is affecting their marriages, relationships,” says
Richard Chaifetz, CEO of ComPsych, a Chicago-based employee-assistance firm that is counselling homeowners over mortgage fears. “People tend to catastrophize, and that leads to depression. Suicide rates go up. We see an increase in drinking, outbursts at work, violence toward kids. They feel trapped like a rat in a corner.”
For Jota Castro, „Mortgage“ is the suicide of our financial and economical system. The desperate situation of companies, states and markets caused by the financial crisis, the uncertainties of the last few months have changed the world we live in. The pledges are not ending but people are dying.“
The work „Amazonas aka Merdolino“ evokes the Amazonian rain forest, made out of wooden poles, stacked up with toilet paper roles. Jota Castro provikingly says that „Amazonas is just like toilet paper. We use it, some even abuse it, we do not think so much about it, it is there for our convenience and some people take it for granted. But it will not last forever.“