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.