Riflepistolacañon, featuring works produced by Jacobo Castellano (Jaén, 1976) between the early 2000s and the present day, is the artist’s most ambitious solo show to date. Embracing a method rooted in the language of sculpture and installation but which also incorporates photography and objectual exploration, here the Jaén-born artist has assembled a group of works that shed light on the singular revision of memory, the vernacular and, ultimately, the way we materialize our perception of the intimate and familiar, the symbolic significance of the objects and things with which we surround ourselves on our journey through life. At a time when a significant part of contemporary creativity is focused on research and it is easy to lose sight of the creator, Jacobo Castellano’s work is an ode to personal experience, and although he does not reject research—in fact, his entire oeuvre revolves around a quest—he does propose a reflection on our personal and collective roots and how these are projected in everyday or festive settings.
The art of Jacobo Castellano does not shy away from uneasiness and drama. His work contains traces of a dark, shadowy tradition, no stranger to the aesthetic forms and attitudes derived from Catholicism. He repeatedly references childhood, not always a happy subject and often rife with dismal imagery. The title of the exhibition, riflepistolacañón, is taken from a drawing displayed in this very space, made by a child and found on the street by the artist. On the page, the child drew an array of weapons resembling a bellicose inventory.
The exhibition is a retrospective, a survey at the midpoint of his career, as it spans nearly 20 years of work. However, it also aspires to connect with the surrounding space and the singularity of its architecture. The South Cloister, with its iconic cone-shaped kilns and the marked verticality of its central area, bears witness to the downfall of the famous peleles (guys or straw dolls), informed by Goya’s legacy or the echoes of a last judgement and by a self-referential reflection on the void and gravity, specific concerns of the sculptural liturgy. riflepistolacañón also makes us participants in the slow transformation of Jacobo Castellano’s sculpture over the years, in which dispersal and accumulation have been replaced by a greater formal synthesis without undermining the powerful vigour of his message.