Sunday, August 18, 2013

Cardboard Figures

With found and improvised household materials, James Castle (1899-1977) assembled an enormous variety of small cardboard figures. He kept dozens on display on the walls of the shed where he worked.

The squat, flattened figures also occasionally found their way as living presences into drawings set outdoors, where their status is more mysterious. Castle's work speaks for itself in a literal way that applies to few other artists. All his life he had either refused or been unable to learn any form of language (neither speech nor writing nor signing). He communicated with his family through a few simple gestures and sounds, and with the world through his art. He gave no titles, made no comments, provided no explanations.