The artist has addressed the way in which knowledge and culture are produced, represented and disseminated. With a kaleidoscopic approach to these research interests, Castillo Deball has explored the fields of archaeology, science, literature and technology and has collaborated with museums and other institutions outside the field of contemporary art.
Ever since her early works, the artist has explored how chance—a product of the passing of time, erosion, fragmentation and human intervention, among other factors—determines, to a large extent, the way we learn about the world and the narratives we create. This interest has led her to investigate the history of certain artifacts and their vicissitudes, reproductions, appropriations and disappearances. Her formal strategies tend to reflect an inclination toward those methodologies used by archaeologists to “trap” their findings. These objects, or substitute images, conceptually approach the ancient Nahua notion of ixiptla, which can be interpreted as representation, image and substitute, but also skin. This concept is indispensable for approaching many of Castillo Deball’s projects over the past decade.
The word amarantus, which gives name to this exhibition, comes from the Greek Αμάρανθος, which describes a flower that never dies—like amaranth, which never wilts. This plant is still used to prepare ixiptlahuan, anthropomorphic and zoomorphic figures that are ritually consumed by some indigenous peoples in Mexico. The amaranth flower represents the persistence of these “uneasy objects” that Castillo Deball makes visible in her historical itineraries and approximations, and which keep speaking to us in the present.
This exhibition showcases some of the artist’s major collaborations, like the one made with researcher Tatiana Falcón, as well as the one developed with the organization Cooperación Comunitaria.
Artist: Mariana Castillo Deball (Mexico City, 1975)
Curator: Catalina Lozano
In collaboration with the Museum für Gegenwartskunst Siegen and Artium, Centro-Museo Vasco de Arte Contemporáneo.
Mariana Castillo Deball
Authors : Mariana Castillo Deball, Tatiana Falcón, Catalina Lozano, Hubert Matiúwàa, Isadora Hastings
Language : Spanish, english, mè’phàà