En el espacio de seis años y un mes Víctor Castro se las arregló para hacerse de un espacio y un tiempo y trabajar su obra escultórica en Lima. Venía de España y no de México, por lo tanto, desde un primer momento, lo que hizo entre nosotros solo ha guardado un escueto aire de familia con lo que uno ve del arte mexicano contemporáneo, de cuyo contexto estaba mayormente desenganchado desde 2002. Tampoco tenía que ver con la escultura española de ningún lado en particular. Si algo podía ser señalado como lo que lo diferenciaba claramente de otros artistas era su actitud, que en su caso se ha sostenido gracias a la conciencia que posee de su propia libertad y a su mirada desprejuiciada dirigida a la cultura urbana práctica, ejemplificada por los usos que se les da a los más diversos dispositivos (muy frecuentemente producidos en serie); y, también ciertamente a su capacidad de hacer del proceso vivido con la materia una sucesión de peripecias y hallazgos en un hilo narrativo cuyo desenlace nadie se atrevería a adivinar. Probablemente Castro haya sido el artista visual con más actitud en tiempos recientes en la escena de las artes visuales en Lima, y con más proyectos innovadores en un terreno en el que buena parte de los actores pone de manifiesto su postura retrechera.  Entre nosotros, este artista mexicano deja una estela de goce compartido, tanto por efecto de su curiosa experimentación alimentada por su humor franco, como por efecto de su fantasía llena de cábalas y artificios. El mismo elán expansivo ha poblado sus diminutos trabajos de precisa construcción así como aquellos ambiciosos proyectos de participación colectiva que supo generar. 
Su presencia y práctica escultórica ha abierto una serie de posibilidades que sumadas a otras extrañas conjunciones en el tiempo actual están contribuyendo a la renovación de la escultura peruana tal como está ocurriendo ahora.
El lugar elegido para su desarrollo futuro verá aparecer nuevos ecos, algunos limeños, cargados de  incansables acción y reflexión y de una apuesta por comprometerse con el mundo a través de las cosas que lo pueblan y los comportamientos que con y por ellas se generan.  

Jorge Villacorta
Julio 2010

Art Criticism, El Comercio Newspaper. 29/03/09

Individual Exposition of Victor Castro
By Elida Roman

“Reflections on the level of the ocean” –that can been seen in the Gallery “Lucia de la Puente”- is a brief summary of various styles and strategies of contemporary art.  Its author, Victor Castro (Mexico, 1974), has resided in Peru since 2005, and has realized a steady body of artistic work, highlighted by his grand project “121 containers / I am a ‘Recolector,’” which called for, over the last two years, many participant “recolectores.”  The result can be appreciated in the park formerly known as, Salazar de Miraflores.

A project in which the participation prepares you for a subliminal instant of social consciousness in terms of ecology, environmental responsibility and the important action of co participation; while integrating relevant communal goals, supporting the betterment of the group by means of a quasi-playful, trivial action.

It is a work of “Procedural Art,” in which, the importance lies in the actions which led to its realization (reminiscent of the memorable “When Attitudes Become Form,” retrospective exposition of this art style held at the Whitney Museum in NY, in 1969).

Looking again at the commentary about said exposition, we find a sober, consistent and clear discussion of the fundamental topics of art today.  It deals with many works in which novelty isn’t central- many recreate articulations already known-, but instead the “result” of their proposal is the fundamental. From the decision to use “Found Objects” (the “objet trouve” of Schwitters)- the pebble to the industrial waste, to the minimalist option represented in his delicate drawings; Castro is able to reformulate these forms, and assign them content, as part of one of his creation-inventions, or as themselves, assimilated by his gesture to indicate them and demonstrate them with a new found dimension.

What this young artist happy achieves is to provocation and organization of concepts, guiding our sight and thought along a poetic, which, avoids whimsical rhetoric, and finds successful execution by means of simple and clear formulation.  He achieves abstractions that create a thirst for reflection, and therefore, contribute to a mechanism of attention and docile reorganization.

For all these reasons, it is easy to find in these works, in this brief and blunt collection, a pedagogical feel that perhaps was not the artist’s intended goal, but none-the-less is an end which has found its significance by means of his expressions.

Even still, the utilization of intertextuality, to the point of using clothespins for clothing that is “sujetando (pulling down, holding)” the lines, there is not an aspiring impact intended, but a natural employment by the artist of the “possible.”

As the culmination of his offer, Castro has written in the wall, at the end of the exhibition, an invitation to leave the confines of the gallery walking to the end of the street, and there, to turn and face the immense space that is the sea.  Discovery, (the act of rediscovering something that is taken for granted, daily), by taking a moment to “look” and live in the action of looking…

A great experience based in knowledge, sensitivity and intelligence.   


Caretas Magazine, 29/01/09

By Luis Lama

Victro Castro is a Mexican artist who resided in Spain prior to moving to Peru.  Upon arrival, he began making his mark with expositions that were radically different from those customary in the Lima art scene.  His work was, on a certain level reminiscent of Richard Serra’s early work, but decidedly unrelated and distinct.  Most recently, we saw his outstanding new sculpture as part of the first exhibition of the “MAC Barranco,” a wooden structure with phosphorescent lines.  Departing from that piece (and taking a year develop), Victor has converted into a “Recolector” and his project has not been uncommon to see daily as his collection bags hung everywhere in the city requesting that people deposit their used bottle caps let us know that something new was on the way.  A titanic endeavor, his hard work paid off in the form of a sculpture that was all the rage in the “Altos” of “Larcomar.” The sculpture, comprised of huge transparent containers full of thousands of multicolor plastic pieces which inspire the following reflection:  If an artist with a few well place bags can gather this much waste material, how much waste are we creating and depositing as a communal inheritance left for our children and grandchildren?  How much damage will our misplaced waste cause to their environment?  For this reason, I consider the support offered by the Manuel Masias, Mayor of Miraflores and Antonio Brack, Minister of the Environment to be well placed in helping realize the “121 Containers” sculpture not only conceptually, but as a full scale social sculpture.  Exhibited in Miraflores Park, their treatment is one of pure intervention in which, by means of illumination and location, the sculpture during its duration was part of the experience of being in the park.  Anyone who was there during that time was impacted by its presence.  The proposition is well exhibited, happily absent of any evident didactic intent, and it permits that the park prevail over the plastic aspect of an artist whose conceptual criteria has been integrated into the ambient by titanic proportions. It is not difficult to appreciate the huge amount of work that the project took and it is in that understanding that the work takes on more meaning: an admirable effort which resulted in the reality of a utopist work.  The public may have brought the basic materials, but the tools with which Victor created have clearly been faith and patience (resources lacking in many of today’s work environments). The result, a paradox in which the exposition of waste materials achieve a harmonious spirituality due to all the elements and phases of participation which in the end find their home in conjunction with nature.  All of these monoliths, without a sound, at different times of day, impose their presence on the urban landscape.  It is necessary to give special mention to the invitation (see photo).  In it, Victor Castro has placed the monoliths as if they where floating in space, making it impossible to not relate them to the monoliths of 2001, save their distance from that place.  The invitation, in itself, is a work of art worth saving.   


121 Containers
Social Sculpture of Victor Castro

Quantity is a quality in itself. One by one bags, bottles and improvised sorts of containers, that were located in differents areas of Lima city, were being filled. Tops, key elements of this work and of a whole process of collection, that has lasted two years, were accumulating until reaching the million which are being exhibited in this public park today.

Several colors and brands show our consumer preferences. Diversity, which is also expressed in the multiple actors who participated in the collection process: kids and adults, men and women, workers, businessmen, housewifes, etc. gathered their tops, generating extensive networks; some institutionals like schools, kindergartens and universities, others less formal like groups of friends or frequent customers of some bars and restaurants.

This accumulation one by one shows the literal possibility to achieve big aims with everyone´s grain of sand, in this case with a “top”. This project is in dialog with notions of the aesthetic of acumulation; relational aesthetics and social sculpture. The simplicity of the project´s display aims to highlight the complexity of its process: the sculpture is the process and the product; the collection of an element and the containers being full of them; the action of all the participants and its materialization in these modules. The number of modules, 121, is not an aleatory thing here. It is the multiplication of the cabalistic number of the artist, 11, by itself, producing a kind of mathematical perfection following Castro´s principles.

121 containers is an artistic and social process, a product and a result of an action with enviromental consequences. The top collecting process was linked with the artist´s request to crush the bottles. From this small gesture we are able to achieve a significant reduction in the volume of our waste. A million tops considers the question: where are the million of bottles? A simple question that generates within the spectator and actor different reflections about their responsability with the environment and the importance of recycling.

Giuliana Borea
January 2009

Curator: Jorge Villacorta


Variaciones sobre Deriviadas
Gustavo Buntinx
Febrero 2008

Aunque nacido en México (1974) y residente en el Perú sólo desde hace cuatro años, VÍCTOR CASTRO ha logrado insertarse del modo más incisivo en nuestra escena. Ello debido tanto a la inteligencia de sus propuestas como a la complejidad de sus estrategias de SOCIALIZACIÓN del hecho creativo, articulando la elaboración del trabajo a nuevas y antiguas COMUNIDADES.
Un ejemplo visible de esto es la múltiple concepción de sus sitios web, cuyo diseño constantemente renovado supera cualquier voluntad de divulgación para hacer de la CIRCULACIÓN informática de imágenes e ideas parte de la GENERACIÓN de obra. Una obra a ser definida más allá de los sugerentes objetos así producidos: tan importante como ellos es la crucial trama de VÍNCULOS sociales gestados para la obtención de los desechos post-industriales (botellas y tapas de polietireno) que son su materia prima aparente.
Aparente: la verdadera sustancia, la materialidad profunda del trabajo de Castro es la conciencia distinta y la RED SOCIAL que desde él se generan, enlazando amigos y desconocidos, comercios y colegios, en torno a una reelaboración artística y lúdica de compromisos ECOLÓGICOS urgentes. El rigor y la creatividad así desplegados ubican a nuestro artífice en uno de los vértices de aquellas ESTÉTICAS RELACIONALES que en distintos países hoy radicalizan la praxis cultural.
Esa vocación se anuncia en esta muestra desde el propio título que asocia elevadas operaciones científicas a prácticas sencillas pero esenciales de SOLIDARIDAD artística. Con la naturaleza. Con la comunidad. Derivadas MATEMÁTICAS, derivas POÉTICAS. Que son también POLÍTICAS. La ecología como condición TERMINAL de la especie. Y del planeta.
El concepto de límite es precisamente el que separa, dicen, al cálculo infinitesimal de las matemáticas previas (algebra, geometría, trigonometría). Pero es ese mismo concepto el que  ahora se resquebraja ante las demandas del EXCESO. En la sociedad y en la cultura.
La BASURA es ochenta por ciento aire, acota Castro cuando recomienda aplastar las botellas descartables. Como ACCIÓN POLÍTICA, como ACCIÓN DE ARTE. Era Riegl, creo, el olvidado ALOIS RIEGL, quien hace más de cien años postulaba en Viena que el arte surge no de la imitación de la naturaleza sino de sus RETOS. Hoy y aquí diríamos también de sus RESTOS: sus resabios y desechos, transmutados en nuestra naturaleza segunda. O hasta primera. Incluso para la condición ULTRAPERIFÉRICA del paradójico tipo de SOCIEDAD DE CONSUMO al que el Perú con tanta ingenuidad se adscribe. Sociedades post-industriales que no han conocido la industrialización exactamente dicha. Sólo sus consecuencias, sus DERIVADAS. Materiales y simbólicas. Los subproductos, antes que los procesos.
De allí la importancia del énfasis acá revertido en los procesamientos de esos DESPERDICIOS. Una relevancia también HISTÓRICA, por remitirse implícitamente a la instancia fundacional del arte (post)moderno, del (post)moderno arte crítico peruano: las incursiones pioneras de Francisco MARIOTTI y el taller E.P.S. HUAYCO (1980-1982) en la BARRIADA y en el BOTADERO,sus exploraciones radicales en el RECICLAJE.
Hay, sin duda, un homenaje a esas experiencias implícito en las exploraciones de Castro: como tantos, él también escaló la dura cuesta de arena para respirar el AURA de las (casi) doce mil latas (vacías) de leche evaporada sobre cuya herrumbre se erosiona todavía la efigie de SARITA COLONIA, ese rostro místico de la migración emplazado por E.P.S. Huayco en los desiertos de la Carretera Panamericana Sur hace ya veinte y ocho años. Pero no es el aire MESIÁNICO de aquella propuesta el que la obra de Castro exhala, sino la METABOLIZACIÓN contemporánea de esos antecedentes, actualizando procedimientos y referencias para lograr un desarrollo de hálitos propios. No la RADICAL utopía socialista de otrora y sus confrontaciones polares, sino la PRAGMÁTICA reparadora de los estragos provocados por nuestros consumidos tiempos consumistas.
Nuestros tiempos sin embargo aún no consumados. De allí la belleza RESIDUAL y EMERGENTE emanada en estas piezas desde su inquietante analogía formal entre el texto ancestral, la nanotecnología informática y la ingeniería genética. QUIPUS o mantos, CHIPS o circuitos, BIOCÓDIGOS y genotipos: libérrimas asociaciones de formas polivalentes que el artífice además reivindica en la abstracción de su doble PLASTICIDAD. La de su materialidad primera, la de su esteticidad última. Y el riesgo siempre incitante del PRECIOSISMO, tensionando con ambivalencias las promesas SOCIALES de su propuesta.
Pero no es un formalismo vacuo lo que así aflora, sino la ruptura epocal de una incipiente VOLUNTAD DE FORMA, esa neonata VOLUNTAD DE ARTE, ese insinuado KUNSTWOLLEN (Riegl, otra vez) en el que se reconfigura hoy nuestra ciudad plástica. La articulación CRÍTICA de sofisticadas consideraciones estéticas con las abismales condiciones ecológicas de la urbe y con la vasta microeconomía informal de quienes allí sobreviven CANIBALIZANDO los residuos de la macroabundancia ajena.
Los últimos proyectos de Castro implican un compromiso aún más PÚBLICO con esa (in)condición humana. La tarea y el goce de recolectar desperdicios comerciales (“SOY UN RECOLECTOR”, es el nombre de su blog) crean circuitos asociativos de colaboraciones, sobre todo anónimas, para un emprendimiento artístico cuyo proceso es tan importante como las apreciables piezas así concebidas para espacios abiertos de ubicación estratégica. Las incontables personas involucradas se convierten en parte de una obra que trasciende la condición objetual para sugerir una perturbación SITUACIONAL. Y política, en el sentido clásico de la POLIS, ese término griego donde ciudad y ciudadanía se intersecan.
El resultado es una ESCULTURA SOCIAL cuya densidad nueva sostiene y supera el impacto visual de las esculturas materiales. La inquietud que resta es cómo hacer no sólo óptica sino POLÍTICAMENTE tangible esa otra, invisible BELLEZA. Por DERIVAR.


363 words for Víctor Castro
The work of the Mexican artist Victor Castro is a singularity point in the young scene of local sculpture. His open disposition to take matter as a contingent territory of imminent transformation allows him to adopt (almost) any form of space writing, as long as it survives enough time in the mental records of its daily journeys. This is manifested doubtlessly through his obsessive and religious storing of bodies that give anticipated life to each one of his pieces; which, nevertheless, seem to also cancel - beforehand any possibility of intuiting any end on them: their state appears characterized significantly by the transitory.
That transposed understanding of his process allows Castro to operate no longer through the materials, but from them, recognizing a fundamental communicative potential from the possible initial relations that it establishes with the other objects of his own surroundings. Castro becomes a type of meticulous investigator, always with a disposition to put in crisis a frequent conception of the sense to turn objectuality into pure metaphor. Each element appears then with the conviction to affirm itself, to draw up its presence in space forcing the spectator to recognize itself and to face the material, in an unusual dialogue with the most audacious wake of post-minimalism.
His mathematical rationality - his obsessive relation with number 11 - and his formal succinctness alludes, in his paradoxical way, to a circumstantial ordering of an almost delirious world. Which is also reinforced by the usual refusal of Castro to fix his own elements permanently, betting however solely in tension, superposition and accumulation of each of its parts: each `piece' is also a momentary and personal sizing up - a temporary sculpture, if you may- of the fragility and poverty of `material' that serves him as nourishment. Critical inflection that in its case doesn’t literalize contents, inserting subtle tensions between the evident and natural formation of certain signs and the apparent artificiality of some others.
`Elements' gathers the most recent sculptures from Victor Castro, exploring distinctively, and for the first time, the initial projections of some of his monumental attempts.

Miguel López, Lima August 2006.
Exhibit Presentation Text: Elements
San Marcos Art Museum, Lima Perú.


Víctor Castro: first round in Lima

The concrete in matter is the pivotal point in the articulation of the ideas of Victor Castro about art and the world. His recent sculptures are determined by weight, measurement and number, indispensable characteristics to approach the materials with thought. This aims to the fact that all of his work comes from a reflection that takes him to investigate a material so he can elaborate his technical data and be able, from there, to recognize the possibilities that display and undergo a process of plastic transformation and creation. By assembly, construction, drawing or modelling Castro conducts himself in a specific chapter of the study of matter, under the aspect in which it has appeared to him, strictly speaking, in his daily journeys in the world. Perhaps this is the place where his work can be identifiable as neo-conceptual: the rules in his dealings with the contingent are clear and very serious, like in mathematics, but his work exists in the world like a series of solids of the most diverse sizes, physical consistencies and three-dimensional projections, signs of an unusual transit. The very apparent literalism of his clinch with reality - his method of recollection of specimens that he soon turns into evidence of something that needs to be investigated--, does not turn out to be, after all, absolutely that. Because Castro also dreams himself as a naturalist lost in the big city, a natural scientist of the artificial always looking for proof of the existence of the clock making God, combining an ironic look on the eighteenth century illustrated thinking - the grandparents of the century of lights--, and a particular sense of humour that leads him by the winding paths of a delicious desire to live misunderstandings at the light of the general absurdity he knows that modernity has bequeathed him. He himself is in charge of lucubrating it, to shape it into one of his innumerable notebooks and to exquisitely produce it, often with the most imaginably ‘poor’ means, although certainly this last word has been exiled very early from his ideas about sculpture. His objects, for that reason, are never cold objects. The active and functional presence of such a gravitating principle of reality in the artistic process of this sculptor accentuates the reaches of a very special poetic summa. Gathered in his system-file of material-ideas, latent as a varied methodology of shaping projects three-dimensionally, what emerges is an unrealized materiality, in which lives and plays a thirst for sculpture.

Jorge Villacorta, Lima, December 2005   
Exhibit Catalogue Text: 11 sculptures
Punctum Gallery Lima - Perú.