Sète #11, 2011
You might be tempted to call these “Memories of Sète”. For this is in fact what they are: recollections of things that no longer exist and indeed existed only for a few days and nights spent crisscrossing every part of the town in search of…Of what, exactly? No doubt a little piece of Sète, undeniably a great deal of Juan Manuel Castro Prieto, and even more of an image. Or images.
In painting his portrait of the city Juan Manuel Castro Prieto has discovered an endless series of existing, used or forgotten images, which he has recaptured in his own way, lending them to new meanings. They turn, just like the footprints painted white on the ground, into landmarks of a sort, a way of telling us that image and sign are all that exist, that the town has to be read in the way it offers itself up, like a mystery to be solved. One of the strengths of his vision is that he has accepted Sète in all its strangeness and that, rather than struggling with it, he has come to terms with this identity, as deep as it is unsettling.