Pablo Castañeda at Kunstinstituut Melly
Pablo Castañeda’s neorealist work steadiness between constancy to the mundane aesthetics of the border city Mexicali, the place he lives and works, and an absurdist irreverence towards semiotic icons. For instance, a big air con unit is perched on the sloping roof of a nondescript business constructing within the middle of Simulacro 21: Locura en la ciudad (Simulacrum 21: Insanity within the metropolis), 2010. The unit’s metallic casing has just one outstanding attribute: It’s blocking a part of Cindy Sherman’s face, which is painted on an enormous billboard within the central background. The picture is borrowed from Untitled Movie Nonetheless #21, 1978, a self-portrait of Sherman as a vaguely skeptical, smartly-dressed denizen of New York Metropolis’s midcentury midtown workforce. In Castañeda’s laconic re-presentation, Sherman’s cosmopolitan heroine oversees a fantastical road scene. A girl sporting a canary yellow feathered masks dominates the foreground. Behind her, a middle-aged man kicks the air as if it have been a soccer, his physique free within the pleasure of inexplicable motion. Everybody follows their very own script on this arid, light-drenched place.
The road in entrance of a churro stand; the within of a storage; a rocky panorama that includes a plywood shed and a Duchampian bottle rack—all are representations of an actual border city rendered hyperreal. Castañeda works from images, however the impact of the work is filmic. Each his particular person work and the constellations of canvases put in at Kunstinstituut Melly—the place he teams variously sized works into narrative clusters, or overlays them onto a mural painted immediately onto the gallery wall—echo Sherman’s conceptual maneuver, fracturing the linearity of filmic time by increasing the potential of the fragment.