Jota Castro, artist

Your story in 10 lines


Jota, that’s me, the son of a woman who is the daughter of a son of a bitch and a gentleman of the Third World, I suffered from neglect when I was little and I stopped talking for a year when I was five years old, I was a soldier, I played sports, I studied, I travelled a lot, I wrote a book—no good—I met my wife in Madrid, I married her in Belfast, I almost lost her, I almost lost me, I came back to my dreams, it makes me laugh knowing that Freud loved cocaine as much as me, I’ve got kidney problems but I’m taking care of myself, I dreamed of a destiny whereas I already had one, I love sex like I love life, I was tortured and I still feel guilty, I have been rich and I didn’t like, I have been poor and I didn’t like, I don’t know where I’m gonna die, I have no children, I haven’t got a mother tongue any more, I picked up art because I couldn’t stand lying , I’ve always liked writing poetry, I lost a woman I loved, my father died without me ever seeing him again, I haven’t seen my mother in 20 years, I feel lonely sometimes, I’m crazy about soccer, when I was little my motto was die rather than sin, sometimes certain friends call me el hijo del sol, I’ve travelled more than my imagination, I was in Berlin when the wall came down, I was in Moscow during Perestroika, mathematics calms me down, I once dreamed of a star that walked, I read the sports newspaper Equipe every day, I love the rain when I’m at home, I have a retarded little brother called Fidel, I love Cy Twombly, I feel right at home in Scotland, I feel right at home in Italy, I’ve seen Pelé and Maradona play, I painted the stairs in my house orange, I’m fascinated by Morrison’s “low pad” armchair, I’m not white, I feel guilty, I was born in Amazonia.

p.s.; I am still alive  and have  now 2 daughters.



How do you combine the slowness in some Italian small cities with the global scale of the bigger cities you daily cross given your globetrotter aptitude and your multiple professions (artist, curator and past diplomatic officer)?

I simply live. I do it my way, I do not change because I am in a small town or in a big city, I am myself.

In your question, one can hear that you are saying there is a certain quality of life in some small town in Italy that you do not find somewhere else. I do not agree with that. You can find a quality of life everywhere, not only in small Italian cities!

Slowness is everywhere where people try to live better.



Is Slow Future – the movement of consumption and theoretic approach in economics you’re widespreading – the other face of the coin of shows as Pabellon de la Urgencia (you curated) or is the finally unveiled theory always lying behind several actions/artworks you signed (as, for instance, Treppenwittz, a ladder whose stairs are made of baguettes)? 

All the works you are talking about are based on the fact that we live in a society of Fear. Some people are afraid of food security, some others are afraid of migration and fragile on open borders. All of this serves as basic material for my work.

You are right in saying that my works have the same matrix.



What is the most important achievement as an artist and what are, on the other hand, the ones as a teacher and theorist? 

I am one person, myself and a teacher and an artist or a theorist… I am a power house. About the achievement, I don’t think I am able to speak about that, it is not important for me. What I want to do is what I like and above all I don’t want to betray myself.



What could be the artist Jota Castro if he was not born in Lima? Do you believe that places have the power to shape us and our identity?

I was not born in Lima! I was born in a very small and slow place called Yurimaguas in the Amazonas region. Of course I believe that the places have  the power to shape us, the places where we are born, the different places where we live. What is important for me is imagination, desire and empathy.



Which encounters do you normally have in your daily work routine?  

Sometimes I do not meet anybody, I can spend days without talking, by myself. And then I need to see people, I go out, I walk, I speak, I laugh.

I am a normal guy. I must confess I don’t like mundanity!



What is your city – actually Brussels – giving to you and vice versa?

My family and personal life.

I like Brussels because it is not a serious city and above all I like Belgium people, good sense of humour, good food, beautiful women and bad politicians.



Describe a fantastic happening you have had in recent time

I am marvelled at still being alive. That makes me smile every morning.



Can you share your favourite cooking passion?

Lately I do prepare good curries, and they are quite good.

I love Italian food and Chinese too.



Which is your favourite wine or drink?

Do you know Chicha Morada? It is a Peruvian drink made with purple corn. Delicious.

A good Irish whisky from time to time and a healthy pint of Guinness. 



Which is your music or the book(s) with you now (and on which kind of side table or desk the book(s) lies down now)?

I am reading the last Houellebecq (Soumission) and it is on the blue side table by Konstantin Grcic.

I listen a lot of Black Messiah by D’Angelo.



Which has been the place in this world where you successfully lived “slow”, if this ever happened?

I can live slow wherever I am, if I want to.



Which is a talent you have and the one you miss? 

I hope I have some talents but one thing is sure I don’t know how to sing!!!!!



What have you learnt from life until now?

I never thought about that, I do not think it is necessary, it is better to live your life freshly.




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