The Mexican artist Pablo Castañeda focuses on picturing the immediate environment of his hometown: Mexicali. Border Autofictions is his first solo exhibition in Europe in Melly and he will create a new mural on site.
Urban micro-narratives, absurd and surrealist scenes, and desert landscapes figure extensively in the artist’s work. He often inserts self-portraits of himself in these scenarios, most of the time depicted as a painter at work, as well as portraits of his friends.
Also, pictures of well-known artists or artworks – from a portrait of Dante to one of Cindy Sherman’s Film Stills – appear as framed pieces hung on walls or as city billboards in the backdrop. As Castañeda is hearing impaired, images are of great value to him. He is an avid arts reader and digs into stories, fantasy, and imagination.
This exhibition consists of over forty paintings, from 2006 to date. It is grouped in different types of scenarios, rather than chronologically or by the artist’s painting series. This arrangement is to emphasize the source of the painting’s imagery.
The exhibition title alludes both to the artist’s context, as much as to his milieu figured in this work. The artist’s hometown, Mexicali, borders Calexico in California. One of the reasons he specifically settled in Mexicali is because it’s almost impossible to cross the border to the ‘land of opportunities’ that the US has been considered by too many and for too long.
Kunstinstituut Melly’s director, Sofía Hernández Chong Cuy, is the curator of this exhibition. Like Pablo Castañeda, she is also from Mexicali. Hernández Chong Cuy’s work at Kunstinstituut Melly has continuously explored presenting work that is locally relevant and globally meaningful.
Witte de Withstraat 50
Until December 31, 2022
Open: Wed-Sun: 11 am to 6 pm, Fri free entrance: 6 to 9 pm