The official opening of Eric del Castillo's exhibition titled The Voice of Silence took place Tuesday, December 15, 2022 at noon, at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Split. Eric del Castillo's work The Voice of Silence tackles the problematics of violence as an ever-present complex social phenomenon, violence that is registered and then mostly ignored, thereby contributing to its unconscious acceptance and normalisation. This exhibition is part of the larger project "Reper", initiated and coordinated by our Faculty associate professor and art historian Dalibor Prancevic.
Faculty Dean Gloria Vickov and Vice Dean Antonela Marić addressed the audience and formally opened the exhibition. President of the Association of Fine Artists Vice Tomasović, curator Dalibor Prančević, and author Eric del Castillo talked about the significance of the exhibition.
The exhibition was realized with the help of the City of Split, the Ministry of Culture and Media of the Republic of Croatia, and the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Split, in cooperation with the Croatian Association of Fine Artists Split.
In fact, this is an artistic platform where people are invited to share their experiences, in an attempt to break the overwhelming silence and all too casual treatment of expressions of aggression and the unsanctioned and unauthorised invasion of other people’s personal space. Using his own contacts and available internet sources, Eric has collected moving stories that bear witness to the many faces of violence. We thus encounter testimonies of people suffering from anxiety disorders caused by some form of experienced violence, statistics published by non-governmental and civil society organisations, but also newspaper reports about violence with a fatal outcome, largely femicide. The artist has transformed all this material into video stories that unfold on screens set-up in the premises of the faculty building. Furthermore, the artist connects these stories by means of a QR code with the representations of sign language applied to the glass walls of various faculty offices, interlinking them with black tape, suggesting a kind of symbolic network of causes and effects. Specifically, hand movements signal to us gender-based violence, primarily violence against women and persons of lesbian, homosexual, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer identity. We will also find among the signals a simple hand gesture created to alert others of the existence of violence – it involves a person holding their palm up, before tucking their thumb inward, and folding their remaining fingers on top to make a fist – which was used during the pandemic when confinement to the family home became an imperative. But there is a fairly large number of dysfunctional families and homes that have become the scene of aggressive outbursts and direct threats to life, so unfortunately this signal was often sent from a window. Curbing violence is actually the leitmotif of the entire exhibition, which is clearly presented at the faculty entrance, with the application of a stopped fist sign. It calls for reflection of our daily life and abusive behaviours, but also invites us to question the dysfunctional protection system for victims of violence and the proper and timely implementation of all available legal frameworks.