Pedro Kastelijns

Text/ by Annie Goodner

When Pedro first moved to the Netherlands from Brazil, he described his new surroundings as architecturally oppressive. In comparison to the improvisational and colorful building styles back home, the walls, sidewalks and facades of Amsterdam were constant and impenetrable. But brick unexpectedly created a way in and a way out. Pedro began to explore the pattern, texture and omnipresence of brick across the city, taking pictures and ultimately incorporating the sensibilities of brick walls into his paintings. In these often small, lively, and energetic works, brick appears as both a mood and an architecture. While the bricks, or bricking, invariably represent solidity, they sometimes float, turning from the corporeal into the ethereal. Throughout his painting work, Pedro recreates the character of Manivela, a personified hand, playful and improvised, who balances a candle on a kitchen spoon. Manivela is in-between and often layered with a brick-pattern and other heavy gouache, making it indistinguishable from other architectural forms within the paintings. The character is heavy, and yet, like paintings themselves, seems to levitate like a puff of smoke.

text written by Annie Goodner in 2022 for the accompanying publication of the Fine Arts graduates from the Gerrit Rietveld Academie.

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