Until September 12 2010 – Museum of Latin American Art
Between You and the Image of You that Reaches Me
Mexican Conceptual and installation artist Mariana Castillo Deball (Mexico City, 1975) will present two new sculptural pieces and a video for the second exhibition in the series to take place in the newly inaugurated Project Room at MOLAA. Her show, Entre tú y la imagen de ti a mí llega / Between You and the Image of You That Reaches Me, revolves around two important figures of the Aztec mythology: Coatlicue, the Mother Goddess of the Earth and Death, who gave birth to the moon, the stars and Huitzilopochtli, the god of the sun and war; and Coyolxauhqui, the powerful oldest daughter of Coatlique, leader of the star gods, who became the moon, when Huitzilopochtli cut off her limbs and tossed her head into the sky when she decapitated her mother Coatlicue.

Castillo Deball approaches these mythological figures from the perspective of history and myth, taking into account the archaeological context of the mayor archaeological findings that changed the history of Mexican archaeology. In this exhibition, the artist draws a parallel between the mythological narrations of these pieces and their destiny as archaeological artifacts, and national identity. Castillo Deball writes: “I’m interested specifically in identifying the difference between a government that bases its power in religion and mythology –as in Aztec times- and today’s laic state, that attempts to convert its symbols and significance.”

Mariana Castillo Deball’s work focuses on archaeological objects, as the means of understanding how the past is constructed, and to investigate the ideological layers that have been added over time, to the symbolic and mythological content in the interpretation of archaeological artifacts. The archaeological past is closely linked to the construction of modern history and identity in Mexico. One way that Castillo Deball deconstructs the tendency of appropriation of the history of archaeology, for the construction of nationalist discourses, is by transforming the archaeological objects or by the absence of the archaeological artifacts themselves to focus on, as described by Jesse Lerner, “the negative space, not the object itself, that it is displayed.(…)The stories that emerge from this negative space are multiple and complex. They speak of issues of cultural patrimony and politics, of the histories of archaeology and of institutions, and of struggle of the control and interpretation of material artifacts from the past.” (p. 163 These Ruins You See , Mariana Castillo Deball, Mexico City, Sternberg Press, 2008).

For example, in Between You and the Image of You That Reaches Me the artist contradicts the “weight” of the archaeological object, by producing a sculpture based on the original monumental stone sculpture of Coyolxauhqui, in its original scale of 9.8 x 9.8 feet, but not in its volumetric, imposing monument like quality, but as a delicate paper sculpture that only traces the lines that form the complex shape of the original piece. This sculpture hangs on the wall, and as a consequence the contour of the pieces is distorted, making the overall image impossible to apprehend.

Mariana Castillo Deball (Mexico City, 1975) studied fine art at the National University in Mexico and at the Jan van Eyck Academie in Maastricht, the Netherlands. Recent projects include: Do ut des, Objectif_exhibitions, Antwerp; A for Alibi , De Appel, Amsterdam; The last piece of John Fare , GB Agency, Paris; Transacciones Filosóficas, Historical Observatory, Córdoba, Argentina; Estas Ruinas Que Ves, Museo de Arte Carrillo Gil, México D.F.; 10 Defining Experiments, Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation, Miami; Mercury in Retrograde , De Appel, Amsterdam; 9th Baltic Triennial of International Art , CAC Vilnus, Lithuania; Prix de Rome , Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; 2003 Interlude: the reader’s traces , National Library, Paris; the Public Library, New York; and the National Library, Berlin. Together with Irene Kopelman, Castillo Deball is a founding member of Uqbar, developing projects that relate contemporary art to other disciplines.

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