Juan Castillo is one of five members of C.A.D.A., one of the most revered artist groups to have emerged in the late 1970s following the military coup that saw Pinochet assume power in Chile until the early nineties. Castillo’s involvement with C.A.D.A. has defined much of his practice over the last twenty five years, the majority of which has been developed in exile in Sweden. Castillo’s dedication to exploring the stories and lives of his Chilean compatriots through video work and public interventions was viewed with skepticism by the dominant political regime of Chile, but now post-dictatorship Castillo’s work is seen as a probing meditation on the contentious nature of the public realm, the powers that define it and the individuals who exist within its structures.
Juan Castillo comes to New Zealand as an artist in residence at Manukau Institute of Technology’s School of Visual Arts. His work for te tuhi exhibited while in residence, Otro maldito dia (Another bloody day), probes the paradox of private/public space and internal/external projections of self. Otro maldito dia (Another bloody day) presents the DVD testimonials of forty residents of a marginalised area in Santiago narrating their dreams. A further video projection shows the artist himself, repeating the few English phrases he speaks, and, as Castillo describes: “this poorly spoken English is attacking the narratives of the dreams in Spanish”.