La courte échelle 

Guest-curated by Yto Barrada, Mateo Lopez and Carlos Garaicoa

Meriem Bennani, M'Barek Bouhchichi, Yaima Carrazana, Johanna Castillo, Juliana Góngora,

Dania González, José Manuel Mesias, Mazenett Quiroga and Santiago Reyes Villaveces

Online viewing room

July 1 to August 8, 2020

Johanna Castillo

Mi sala (my living room), 2017

100% cotton woven

170 x 152 cm

Courtesy of the artist 

US$ 4 000

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custom duties and shipping costs

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Mi sala is a reflection of a moment when I was living in a house, I never called home, filled with surveillance cameras inside and outside. Being out of a space I could paint in my own colors, switch objects when I felt it, dance really loud salsa with la escoba while cleaning, cut avocados in my own way, and not being so neutral in dinner conversations made me self-conscious of existing as a not-so-free being in a space. Was I fooling myself pretending I was free? Or was I just adapting to the space because I had to? I considered “mi sala” part of the initial processes to reclaim space, power and agency to exist and play with the world I want to exist in as a free Dominican woman with an afro outside of my island. 

Mi espacio, tu espacio (my space, your space), 2018

Recycled cotton knitted

162 x 150 cm

Courtesy of the artist

US$ 3 000

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Mi espacio, tu espacio reflects the ongoing exploration of the questions: what does a safe space mean to me? How does a safe space feel to me? Where am I allowed to exist, to play, to heal, to unlearn, to decolonize, to deconstruct imposed imaginaries over my “tropical” body, my “exotic” hair and my nature of existing as a woman with “that looks like a wig” afro? This piece is a reminder that for me to decolonize the spaces I find myself in (tu espacio), I have to decolonize my own idea of self, my body and my mind (mi espacio).

Biography

 

Johanna Castillo (b. 1995) is an Afro Dominican artist who integrates practices of collaborative installation, performance, interactive sculpture, collective questions, virtual knots, photography, textiles and discourses around material culture, local-ness, the statement “you don’t look Dominican” (by Dominicans and Non-Dominicans), and safe spaces in response to concerns on human connection, social constructs, identity, colonization, human rights and the devastation of natural resources.

 

Born and raised in the Dominican Republic, she studied Fashion Design and graduated from the Altos de Chavón School of Design in the Dominican Republic (2015) and Parsons the New School for Design in New York (2017) where she focused on materiality, systems and ways of bringing people together through textiles.

 

Recent artworks focus on creating inclusive spaces in the form of collaborative textile installations that grows with the participants, where everybody is encouraged to come down to their “nothingness,” deconstruct who they think they are and the perceptions of “others”, and connect with others through recycled or local textiles as her way of planting the seed that everybody is a knot away from re-connecting with themselves, others and nature.

 

On the other hand, Castillo is developing an ethnographic project called “Knots as Modus Vivendi” in her island Quisqueya (República Dominicana and Ayiti) which aims to understand the local context of textiles, deconstruct Eurocentric fashion theories, explore their own assumption of “local” through the island’s materiality and archive the narratives of the different demographic groups within the informal markets population to understand the consequences that globalization has brought to the production processes/local economy of Quisqueya.