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mariana castillo deball - a solo exhibition

witte de with center for contemporary art - rotterdam
may 26 - august 25, 2019
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mariana castillo deball, installation view of uncomfortable objects in the museum haus konstruktiv, 2012. photo: stefan altenburger.

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mariana castillo deball, installation view at the witte de with center for contemporary art, 2019. phto: manuel raeder

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mariana castillo deball, installation view at the witte de with center for contemporary art, 2019. photo: manuel raeder

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mariana castillo deball, installation view of uncomfortable objects in the museum haus konstruktiv, 2012. photo: stefan altenburger.

image

mariana castillo deball, installation view at the witte de with center for contemporary art, 2019. phto: manuel raeder

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mariana castillo deball, installation view at the witte de with center for contemporary art, 2019. photo: manuel raeder

This solo exhibition presents three distinct kinds of work—and worlds—created by Castillo Deball in the past decade. They strike a balance between material folds and unfolding ideas, whereby multiple senses of time are experienced in the blank spaces of a drawing, in the negative space of sculpture, or in the wrinkles of a surface. For years, Castillo Deball’s work has consistently manifested the ways in which the passage of time is illustrated, organized, and expressed in nature as much as in artifice.

 

One body of work in the exhibition comes from her study into the description of indigenous culture, skills, and technology—including the development of natural pigments endemic to pre-Columbian Mexico, as indicated in the 16th century Florentine Codex. Another group of works point to the artist’s long-standing interest in the meeting points of indigenous knowledge and Western thought. In this case, her works investigate how such dialogues, which are often contentious, are expressed in different spheres of influence, from museum design practices to cultural theories inspired by anthropophagy, the act of eating human flesh.

 

The artist paints and sculpts, writes and publishes, and conducts artistic research into source materials drawn from antiquity, modernity, and our present. Like a line of thought, or an air plant, Castillo Deball’s work meanders through a physical space in imagined time. At times, sensually maneuvering us into another world, while at others, uncomfortably poking into ours, only to experience the wealth of knowledge there is to gain from a wider, deeper, and more global understanding of our ancient past.