Misleidys Castillo Pedroso & Rigo
fuerza cubana 2
Mysterious, striking, memorable: such are the works of Misleidys Castillo Pedroso, to whom we dedicate this third monographic exhibit – after those in New York in 2015 and in Paris in 2016 – and before the Kunstforum of Vienna devotes a gallery to her in its Flying High: Women Artists of Art Brut exhibit in 2019.
Misleidys was born in 1985, not far from Havana, with a severe hearing impairment, and that her father left home when she was still a very young child. The little girl showed signs of developmental difficulties, so her mother placed her in a specialized facility at the age of five. But as the symptoms of autism became clearer, she had to leave. She went back to live at home, in total isolation from society, before beginning, one day, to paint and then to cut out silhouettes of bodybuilders – sometimes larger than life-size – soon adding wildlife, demons, organs, of which some have cut-away views. This assemblage ended up decorating all the rooms in the house. The strips of brown Scotch used to tape them to the walls giving them a sort of supernatural aura.
Those close to her claim that Misleidys displays an exceptional capacity for clairvoyance, inherited from her mother, and that it isn’t rare to come upon her in the middle of “conversing” with her works through gestures – the sign that these are the bearers of some power which goes beyond the mere fascination that they exert on the beholder.
Karen Wong, deputy director at the New Museum of New York, on the topic of Misleidys Castillo Pedroso’s works, raises the question of genre as well as their formal similarities with the works of Francisco Clemente. But rather than telling us about Misleidys’ real intentions, this analysis primarily brings forth the issue of reception, central to the discussion of Art Brut works.
Misleidys Francisca Castillo Pedroso
This Cuban artist has no other means of expression than that of her creation. The walls of her home, where she lives with her mother, are covered with drawings of bodybuilders, brown tape scattered along the outlines. A true community of men, women, hermaphrodites and wildlife, Misleidys has built her sociality through her work. Discovered by the gallery in 2014, she has been featured in more than 10 international exhibitions since 2018, including New Images of Man in Los Angeles, Flying High in Vienna, and Independent in New York. Acclaimed by Matthew Higgs and Karen Wong (New Museum, NYC), the artist has been the subject of recent reviews in the New York Times and Art in America.
Guillermo Rigoberto Casola Marcos, born in Havana in 1961, is primarily known by his nickname, Rigo. His parents and siblings, like him, suffered from mental troubles; one of his brothers was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. But Rigo has been drawing since he was a child, and when he doesn’t give his drawings away, he throws them away. His watercolors seek to express his everyday life, the experience of a poor Cuban, part artist, part mentally ill, and who isn’t devoid of humor. Halfway between pop art and illustration, these sketches progress in their narration like a horizontal storyboard made of little assembled pieces of recycled paper. His confident graphic language owes much to[…]
Preface : Karen Wong
Foreword : Christian Berst
Catalog published to mark the exhibition Misleidys Castillo Pedroso : fuerza cubana #2, from September 8th to October 6th, 2018.