Mariana Castillo Deball

Vleeshal Center for Contemporary Art (18 Dec. 2021 – 27 Feb. 2022)

Installation view Mariana Castillo Deball, By the position of your heart IT WILL BE KNOWN WHERE THE MIDDLE PLACE IS (2021), Vleeshal. Photo Franz Mueller Schmidt. All rights reserved by Hartwig Art Foundation.   

Mariana Castillo Deball’s chimerical, changing practice incorporates various mediums such as sculpture, film, photography, drawing, ceramics, printmaking and book making. In her installations and research-based projects, objects take on the role of characters in a play or opera that have been removed from their times and circumstances in order to convey meaning through new contexts. Her work often acknowledges and explores how stories are performed and retained in museums, while making visible practitioners and makers whose histories have long been obscured. 

By the position of your heart IT WILL BE KNOWN WHERE THE MIDDLE PLACE IS is the most recent iteration of Mariana Castillo Deball’s suspended ceramic installations. Presented at Vleeshal (location city hall Middelburg, 18 Dec. 2021 – 27 Feb. 2022), the ceramic pieces, particularly those made of porcelain and painted with an engobe slip, resemble ancient pottery vessels that have perforations at their base (also known as ‘kill holes’ in archeological terms). This deliberate removal of a receptacle’s function as a container is found to be common practice used for traditional burial rites in the American Southwestern region. Deball further manipulates these forms to create five imagined pieces connected by a rope, while also incorporating her 1998 sculptural investigation of the Klein bottle, a mathematical object that has no inside or outside. 

This formalistic exploration of ceramics is paired with Deball’s extensive research and mediation in science, archaeology, and the visual arts, specifically on how these disciplines describe the world. Her work also highlights collaborations, and the knowledge exchanges that occur by experimenting with its modes of (re)production. 

About the artist

Mariana Castillo Deball was born in Mexico and currently resides between Berlin and Mexico City. After completing a Master of Fine Art from the National Autonomous University of Mexico in Mexico City, Castillo Deball undertook the postgraduate program of the Jan van Eyck Academie, Maastricht in 2002–03. Castillo Deball’s recent solo presentations include the Modern Art Oxford, England (2020); the Museum Monash University Museum of Art, Melbourne (2019); the Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam (2019); the New Museum, New York (2019); the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, Chicago (2018); and the Museo Amparo, Puebla, Mexico (2018). Group exhibitions include the Sharjah Biennial 13 (2017); the 32nd Bienal de São Paulo (2016), the Aichi Triennale (2016); the Liverpool Biennial (2016); the 8th Berlin Biennale (2014) and dOCUMENTA (13), Kassel (2012). In 2013, she was awarded the Preis der Nationalgalerie of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, resulting in her major exhibition Parergon at Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart – Berlin in 2014. Alongside her artistic practice, Castillo Deball has been a professor at the Academy of Fine Arts Münster, Germany since 2015.