When we interviewed Chilean painter Victor Castillo in Hi-Fructose Vol 23, he told us: “Today, to me, it is especially impossible not to be political because there are too many important things happening to live as if nothing is happening.” Born in ’73, which is also the title of his fourth major exhibition opening tomorrow at KP Projects, Los Angeles, the artist has often made historical and political references in his dark paintings of hollow-eyed children.
Sporting cartoony sausage noses and toothy grins, the children in his paintings are usually depicted doing something in the spirit of revolution, cheerfully smashing piggy banks and toy crowns like rebellious Merry Melodies characters. But their make believe games represent something much more sinister, allusions to the real-life brutality and a corrupted social system. Castillo’s new paintings for “Born in ’73” sees them getting stampeded by giants and running into flaming battle scenes, recalling the imagery in his previous showing “Rebels with a Cause” which spoke about rebellion and insurrection facing concepts about power and law.
“I was born in an experiment,” Castillo says about the military dictatorship that was established in Chile in 1973 following the neoliberal model of Chicago school economists. Calling to mind the coup d’état in his country and then other countries in Latin America and the world, Castillo’s new works suggest that global takeovers of power continue today.