With scant resources and a peculiar vision, characterized by fine irony (but also capable of being hilarious), Uruguayan artist Martín Sastre builds up a universe in which fame can belong to all—and where everyone, from Michael Jackson to Hello Kitty, from Britney Spears to Matthew Barney, dance to the beat of the same iconoclastic narrative. In many different ways, he appropriates himself of formats established by the international mass culture to express a new understanding of the world. Fantasy, glamour, the construction of a reality filled with light, wealth, and power are reproduced here in a spirit of parody, with a Latin American flavor.
Based on video and performance, his oeuvre featured in the biennials of Venice, São Paulo, Havana, and Prague. One of the South American artists that were most successful in seducing the “mainstream art circuit,” the opposition between rich and poor artists is one of his key subjects. Not only in the anthological La Trilogía Iberoamericana [The Iberian-American trilogy], he subverts, in all of his works, the presuppositions of cultural domination in the North-South relation, and the concepts of mainstream art and independent creation.
Be it in the role of the Japanese animated cartoon warrior who fights against institutionalized contemporary art, be it as a holographic deity that holds the keys to the salvation of Europe, Sastre and his narratives criticize the repetition of patterns, the wearing out of the solutions adopted by the leading global centers to propagate their truths, and the impending doom to which that system is destined.
In his Essay, Uruguayan filmmaker and critic Ricardo Casas claims that, in Sastre’s oeuvre, “dreams come true easily, as do fame, the possibility of becoming a star, or the possibility of becoming a Latin American artist, that is, poor. Pop, in his work, is a way of seeing the world, of going beyond appearances, of composing a space-time that is close to the fantasy that invades us coming from the screens all the time.” Martín Sastre is the third guest of the curated programme (A)Pareço, logo existo [I look, therefore I am] of the FF>>Dossier, a series featuring four Uruguayan authors whose work is based on simulation, seduction by image, and the manipulation of contemporary media codes and tactics.
Further info on this artist available at the collection