The Fifth World is Douglas Pérez Castro’s long overdue first solo exhibition in the UK. It is Breese Little’s great pleasure to introduce a new collection of oil paintings produced in the costumbristo style. Popular across Spanish-speaking cultures for several centuries, the genre was dominant in Cuba in the nineteenth century with typecasting scenes of the plantation system. Pérez Castro transcribes the anachronistic tradition with characteristic humour, the effect of which he describes as like a ‘whip with jingle bells’. The exhibition title is developed from renowned twentieth century Cuban artist Wilfredo Lam’s (1902-82) painting The Third World (1965) in The National Museum of Fine Arts, Havana. Pérez Castro identifies the work as a symbol of factions in Cuban society, which have grown into a state of mind where creativity and endurance come together to provoke reflection.

The small scale of the works form a picturesque album of Caribbean life, with colonial iconography sent up against a new era of contemporary communication. Stereotypes abound in idyllic tropical vignettes and dark colonial scenes with chintzy patterned borders. The Cuban people are represented as the Noble Savage, of proud nude stature in lush, overgrown settings implicit with sexual innuendo, as feather-wearing, hatchet-toting natives or dressed up in the starched attire of their colonial counterparts who hold forth in wigs, jackets and breeches. Pérez Castro’s caricatures of regional identity are tempered with playful irony, offering critique by way of the ridiculous.

The Fifth World is Pérez Castro’s fourth exhibition with the gallery, including Cannibal/Carnival (May-July 2012), a dual show with Elio Rodríguez, curated by Orlando Hernández with kind thanks to the von Christierson Collection. Pérez Castro’s work is represented extensively in public private collections across Europe and North America. Reference texts on Pérez Castro’s work are available at Breese Little.

The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated e-catalogue containing an interview with the artist and an introductory text by Miriam Metliss. Metliss is an Arts Manager and Client Liaison with expertise in the field of Art from Latin America and is currently Patrons and VIP Relations Manager at the Contemporary Art Society.

Douglas Pérez Castro (b. 1972, Santo Domingo, Villa Clara, Cuba) lives and works in Havana, Cuba. The artist graduated from the Higher Institute for the Arts, Havana in 1996. Recent exhibitions include Cuban Forever, Pizzuti Collection, Columbus, Ohio (2014), Entre Tropicos, Caixa Cultural, Rio De Janeiro (2012), Queloides: Race and Racism in Cuban Contemporary Art, Mattress Factory Museum, Pittsburgh (2011), Without Masks, National gallery of Johannesburg (2010), The Shark and the Sardine, Sevando Gallery, Havana and METIS-NL, Amsterdam (2007), Es para no ser visto, Praxis Gallery, Lima (2004), Atravesados, House of America, Madrid (2002), The Politics of Difference, Generalitat Valenciana, Spain, Brazil and Argentina (2002), Caribbean Artists in the Centre for Contemporary Art CBK T.E.N.T, Rotterdam (2001), The Axiomatic Arcade, Track 16 Art Gallery, Santa Monica (2001).

Freya Pocklington: Hot Dogs and Problem Pets runs concurrently in the first floor gallery. Breese will present vintage NASA photography and Jan Kempenaers’ photographs at Paris Photo LA, 1 -3 May 2015. The gallery is participating in EC1 & WC1 Galleries Day, 25 – 26 April, and will be open 12 – 8 pm and 12 - 6 pm respectively.