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Humberto Castro: Man in Detresse

Having been born in Cuba in 1957 and having lived there until 1989, it is natural that the central theme of my work would become Man in Distress. Perhaps the French word ditresse captures the deeper and broader reverberations of the concept better.

Man in Detresse is the fundamental condition of all reflective beings who live and feel the ineluctable and imminent danger and abandonment of life, its haunting miseries, its bedrock loneliness. As a member of the ’80s generation in Cuba, and a participant in its innovations and rebellions against authority, I also came to witness the incomparable ditresse of libertarian man in the face of the brute power of a state. It is a theme that life itself has imposed on my work as it has evolved through myriad Greek myths of exile and its epics of destitution—Icarus, Odysseus, the Minotaur. The enormous popularity and ubiquitous presence of these myths and stories in our culture enable me to use them as a common reservoir of symbols.

Theme and concept have always interested me more than technique or medium. Notwithstanding, I have explored many different media—painting, sculpture, drawing, graphics, ceramics, and installations.
I lived in Paris between 1989 and 1999, when I moved to South Florida. Here I have witnessed a vibrant new side to Man in Detresse—his rebirth in a multicultural civilization. The United States, and specifically Miami at the present time, is an intense melting pot of exiles and immigrants. My new works focus on these new horizons which bring forth new hopes and, undoubtedly, their new expressions of ditresse.

Humberto Castro