Critics’ Picks

View of “Christe o chapa,” 2019.

View of “Christe o chapa,” 2019.


Jacobo Castellano

F2 Gallery
Doctor Fourquet 28
September 12–November 8, 2019

Over the past couple of years, sculptor Jacobo Castellano has made a compelling motif out of the torno, an enclosed revolving door or window found in Spanish and Latin American cloistered convents that is used to transfer goods, missives, and people through the sacred and profane realms. Based on the idea of this bygone contraption, which is as much a threshold between public and private as between secular and holy, Castellano has built a static and corpulent piece that appears to float on a carved wooden base with golden reflections at the bottom edge. From TORNO, 2019, hang worn tapestries in earthy green and brown tones. Nearby, two enclenque sculptures dialogue with a formidable torno, all three forms likely familiar to any Andalusian child. In the first sculpture, PERSONAJE 3 (CHARACTER 3), 2019, a jagged wooden spire leans on a skinny stick for support. The second piece, PERSONAJE, 2017, is built as a saltire. The work faces the visitor, blocking their path.

In lieu of a press release, the gallery has provided a dossier of ten photographs from Castellano’s personal collection. The images (of a room with balloons, a dilapidated projection room, a torno, some junk) emphasize the influence of “chance encounters” on Castellano’s work (though, that could be said of almost any artist). The scale decreases in the back room, whose sculptures bear little relation to the pieces in the main gallery. Despite its inelegant layout, the show’s overwhelming aesthetic appeal and the peculiarity of its details—two sewn broken buttons in PERSONAJE 3, for instance—make it unforgettable.

Translated from Spanish by Jane Brodie.