Mariana Castillo Deball

Artist in Residence at 18th Street Arts Center
Presented at 18th Street Arts Center
Presented at LACMA

Mariana Castillo Deball, born in Mexico City and based in Berlin, examines how the cultural and functional significance of objects changes over time. Castillo Deball uses installation, sculpture, photography and drawing to explore the role of objects in constructions of identity and history. Her sculptures call into question perceptions of reality and transforms the way we see.

Solo exhibitions of Castillo Deball’s work have been held at the Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin (2014); CCA Glasgow (2013); Chisenhale Gallery, London (2013); and she has participated in significant international survey exhibitions including the 8th Berlin Biennale (2014) and the 29th São Paulo Biennial (2010). She was the recipient of the 2013 Preis der Nationalgalerie für junge Kunst, and the 2012 Zürich Art Prize. Castillo Deball studied at the Jan van Eyck Academie (2003), and Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (1997).

In collaboration with LACMA’s Art of the Ancient Americas department, the artist researched the use of pigments in Mayan and Aztec ceramics. As a result of this investigation, Castillo Deball will develop a new series of drawings for A Universal History of Infamy in which she explores ancient techniques. In addition to this commissioned work, Deball will display the installation Vista de Ojos (2014). This imagery is based on a map of Tenochtitlan (now Mexico City) dated to the 1550s, just 30 years after it was colonized by Spain. Vista de ojos (overview of the eye) was a term used by Spanish colonial authorities to verify the validity of maps executed by or with the assistance of indigenous artists called tlacuilos; recent scholarship suggests that a tlacuilo may have made the Tenochtitlan map. Here Mariana Castillo Deball enlarges the map and turns it into a sculptural environment, allowing spectators to experience the complex dynamic between European and indigenous perceptions of space.