Mariana Castillo Deball. Amarantus

Mariana Castillo Deball. Amarantus Image: Para qué me diste las manos llenas de color... (detail), 2018

From: Friday, 05 November 2021

To: Sunday, 13 March 2022

Mariana Castillo Deball (Mexico City, 1975) has shaped a vast body of work that tackles the way in which knowledge and culture are produced, represented and disseminated, positioning herself in the junctions between science, fiction and the visual arts and their relation to the ways that pre-colonial Mexican history has been appropriated and investigated at various times.

Castillo Deball uses a kaleidoscopic approach to her interests to explore archaeology, science, literature and technology, and she has collaborated with museums and institutions outside the realm of contemporary art.

Ever since her early works, the artist has explored how chance – the product of time passed, erosion, fragmentation and human interventions, among other factors – largely determines the way that we learn to describe the world and the narratives we create. This interest has led her to explore the history of specific artefacts – which she calls “uncomfortable objects” – their paths, reproductions, appropriations and disappearances.

Her formal strategies are often akin to the methodologies employed by archaeologists to “trap” their discoveries. These objects, or surrogate images, are conceptually similar to the ancient Nahua notion of ixiptla, which can be interpreted as representation, image and substitute, but also skin. This concept is crucial for exploring many of Castillo Deball’s projects over the past decade.

The word amarantus, which gives the exhibition its name, comes from the Greek Αμάρανθος and designates a flower that never dies – like the amaranth, an indispensable plant in traditional Mexican diets that never withers. The amaranth flower evokes the persistence of these “uncomfortable objects”, the material remains of random historical events that fascinate Castillo Deball.

In collaboration with the Museum für Gegenwartskunst Siegen (Germany) and Museo Universitario de Arte Contemporáneo (Mexico).


Brochure List of Works


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