Mariana Castillo Deball at the New Museum, New York

Marian Castillo Deball  (b. 1975, Mexico City, Mexico) will present sculptures, prints, photographs, and installations. Her work will examine how culture heritage is produced, measured, and authenticated. She is inspired by mesoamerican iconography and how early colonialism has changed its narrative. She also applies her philosophical influences of time and space along with cosmology.


Finding Oneself Outside features uncovered artifacts, stone sculptures, and symbols written in 16th century notes that provided inspiration for the sculptures. Each piece begs the question of where they came from, how did they make this, and where did the materials come from. The final question proposed is how did these pieces fall under the hands of an institution, in which their original purpose belonged to its culture.

Deball addresses these relationships, which she exposes and reinvents in her work. The artist also has an exhibition in Chicago titled Petlacoatl, a phrase that translates to “a mat woven of snakes pointing in all directions.” Her work is indicative of these words, which reflects constantly moving and contrasting facets. Being raised as a daughter of a printmaker, she is aware of the reproductive aspects of the industry. As such, the influential memories of her formative years addresses the question of redundancy within materialist history.

Deball also expresses interest in mathematical structures, in which she uses as “a speculative structures of thought.” She uses the phrase “personal equation” as a way to connect to the author’s acts. In order to do so, we need to engage to a historical timeframe. As such, her work allows the spectator to indulge in a spatial and historical context. It allows the viewer to ask themselves as to why they are here, and how do they connect within the institution.

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“In each project I try to build a personal equation, a spasmodic machine that, as Italo Calvino would say, acts through the author... but that machine would not work without a self immersed in a historical time, without its reactivity, without its convulsive hilarity.” The centerpiece is a wood floor installation, drawing from an early colonial map of San Pedro Teozacoalco, Mexico, blending European map styles and 16th century Mixtec codices. Another piece is a green fiberglass cast of the famous 15th century Aztec Coatlicue statue, which is knocked on its side to reveal a hollow center. The exhibition will be available until April 14 2019.

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