This visual essay is based on a drawing the artist made with a similar format and size to the Codex Borgia. This “new codex” is composed of a series of images created by Castillo Deball after assimilating the pre-Hispanic document. In the video, the images are presented in their original reading direction, that is, from right to left, and combined with a sort of oral fugue that brings together quotes, texts and testimonies in the languages that have formed part of the object’s history.
This piece’s narration presents the codex as an object that “speaks up” to tell its own story: from the death of the deer whose skin serves as its medium, to its improbable rescue from an auto-da-fé meant to burn it, up to its arrival in the library of Stefano Borgia, where Alexander von Humboldt found it in the nineteenth century. The fact that the object tells its own story is a gesture that Castillo Deball uses to question the dynamics of historical methodologies, as well as the protocols that colonial forces have imposed on the preservation, access and exhibition of these objects.
For the first time, the MUAC’s #Sala10 presents a hybrid exhibition in the museum’s digital and physical spaces. Amarantus, curated by Catalina Lozano, represents the first Mexican retrospective of Castillo Deball’s artistic production. Both the exhibition held at the museum and the display of this piece in digital format, are part of the UNAM’s Coordinación de Difusión Cultural commemorative program Mexico 500, which encourages reflections through the visual arts on the legacy and implications of the fall of Mexico-Tenochtitlan, 500 years ago.
Jaime González Solís
Mariana Castillo Deball’s Oracles
By Sandra Rozental
In Mexico, we are born, raised and shaped as individuals in an environment populated by carved stones and images of characters clad with breastplates and feathered headdresses, presented to us as our mythical ancestors. In The Where I Am Is Vanishing, as in much of her artistic production, Mariana Castillo Deball takes up elements from the ancient civilizations that inhabited this territory to remind us that the pre-Hispanic has not always been considered to the backbone nor the heritage of the nation. [...]
COMPLETE TEXT HERE
Mariana Castillo Deball, El dónde estoy va desapareciendo [The Where I Am Is Vanishing],
Voices in Spanish, Nahuatl, Italian, German and English
Music: Fragments of Xilofonías, Mario Kuri Aldana, 1963
Mariana Castillo Deball
(Mexico City, 1975; lives and works in Berlin)
A visual artist who focuses on exploring the history of cultural objects, their prevalence and the different ways in which they have been understood and interpreted over time. Her multidisciplinary approach has led her to collaborate with specialists in different scientific and cultural fields and her work has received many international awards. Her most recent individual exhibitions include the ones at the Museum für Gegenwartskunst Siegen, Germany (2021), Modern Art Oxford, England (2020), Monash University Museum of Art, Melbourne (2019) and the New Museum, New York (2019). She has been a professor of sculpture at Germany’s Münster Academy of Art since 2015.
Curatorship: Jaime González Solís
Texts: Jaime González Solís, Sandra Rozental
Content Direction: Ekaterina Álvarez, Cuauhtémoc Medina
Curatorial Coordination: Ana Sampietro
Digital Management: Ana Cristina Sol
Content Editing: Vanessa López, Javier Villaseñor
English Translation: Julianna Neuhouser
Press: Francisco Domínguez, Eduardo Lomas