November 9, 2018 - Logan Center Exhibitions - Mariana Castillo Deball: Petlacoatl
November 9, 2018

Logan Center Exhibitions

Mariana Castillo Deball, Petlacoatl II, 2018. Courtesy of the artist.

Mariana Castillo Deball
November 16, 2018–January 13, 2019

Logan Center Exhibitions
915 E. 60th Street, 1st Floor
Chicago, Illinois 60637
United States
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Sunday 11am–9pm

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Logan Center Exhibitions is pleased to announce Mariana Castillo Deball: Petlacoatl, on view at the Logan Center Gallery from November 16, 2018 to January 13, 2019. Mariana Castillo Deball, the Fall 2018 Tinker Visiting Professor in the Department of Visual Arts (DoVA) at the University of Chicago, explores representations of cultures through material artifacts, and her research-based practice draws on a range of fields that includes anthropology, archeology, and ethnography. In considering how cultural objects are staged, mediated, and valorized in the present, Deball creates a thoughtful dialogue between our contemporary moment and ancient history.

For her first solo exhibition in Chicago, Deball presents a new series of watercolor drawings, as well as extruded metal sculptures, modular concrete tiles, and plaster sculptures that respond to the tonalpohualli, a 260-day calendar system used in pre-colonial Mesoamerica. The tonalpohualli marked time through 20 distinct periods that each last thirteen days and was a tool for divination as well as a visual representation of spatial coordinates and ritual practices. At the Logan Center Gallery, Deball draws specifically from the visual organization of the Codex Fejérváry-Mayer, a pre-colonial manuscript in which the 260 days of the tonalpohualli are represented by circular spacers along a ribbon that flows around the border of a central panel. The ribbon forms a cross shape across the page and each arm stands in for one of the cardinal directions, which are also indicated through distinct colors: red for the east, yellow for the north, blue for the west, and green for the south. In addition to responding to the iconography, visual schema, and color of the calendar in her drawings and floor sculptures, Deball uses perforated aluminum strips to make literal the visualization of spatial measurements and extends the structure of the tonalpohualli into the space of the gallery.

The title of the exhibition is taken from the Nahua word meaning “mat woven of snakes pointing in all directions.” The symbol of the petlacoatl was often included in ancient Mesoamerican divinatory calendars, and it functioned as an omen that presaged either the impending demise or rise of a ruler. For the artist, tools for measuring time and telling fortunes, such as the tonalpohualli and petlacoatl, are emblematic of the material and immaterial connections in indigenous knowledge systems between bodies, both human and nonhuman, and the world. Deball’s installation at the Logan Center Gallery extrapolates from these systems to explore sculptural practice expanded through space and time.

Mariana Castillo Deball: Petlacoatl is presented by Logan Center Exhibitions and curated by Yesomi Umolu, Exhibitions Curator with Katja Rivera, Assistant Curator and Alyssa Brubaker, Exhibitions Coordinator. The exhibition is made possible by support from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, The Reva and David Logan Foundation, and friends of the Logan Center.

Related Programming

Opening Reception and Artist’s Tour
Friday, November 16, 6pm, Logan Center Gallery

Deball will give an artist’s tour of the exhibition at 6:30pm.

In Conversation: Mariana Castillo Deball, Daniel Ricardo Quiles and Yesomi Umolu
Monday, November 26, 6pm, Logan Center Terrace Seminar Room

Join us for a conversation between Mariana Castillo Deball, Daniel Ricardo Quiles, Associate Professor of Art History, Theory & Criticism at the School of the Art Institute, and Yesomi Umolu, Exhibitions Curator, as they discuss the artist’s project at the Logan Center.

Co-presented by Logan Center Exhibitions, the Open Practice Committee in the Department of Visual Arts and the Center for Latin American Studies.

Gallery Talk: Claudia Brittenham
Thursday, Jan 10, 6pm, Logan Center Gallery

Claudia Brittenham, Associate Professor of Art History at the University of Chicago, leads a gallery talk that focuses on the use of ancient Mesoamerican codices in the exhibition.

All events are free and open to the public.

About the Artist
Mariana Castillo Deball works in installation, sculpture, photography, and drawing, exploring the ideologically constructed conditions under which artefacts appear in today’s culture. She takes on a kaleidoscopic approach to her work, culling information from various disciplines such as archaeology and science, and, through research and collaboration, creating works that arise from the collision and recombination of these divergent languages. Solo exhibitions of her work have been held at the SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah, Georgia, USA (2018); Galerie Wedding, Berlin, Germany (2017); San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, USA (2016); Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Oaxaca, Mexico (2015); Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin, Germany (2014); CCA, Glasgow, UK (2013); Chisenhale Gallery, London, UK (2013); Museo Experimental El Eco, Mexico City, Mexico (2011); and Museum of Latin American Art, Long Beach, USA (2010). Group exhibitions include the 8th Berlin Biennale, Berlin, Germany (2014); Documenta 13, Kassel, Germany (2013); and the 54th Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy (2011).

Logan Center Exhibitions
Logan Center Exhibitions presents international contemporary art programming at the Logan Center Gallery and throughout the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts at the University of Chicago. Reflecting the spirit of inquiry at the university, Logan Center Exhibitions focuses on open, collaborative, and process-based approaches to cultural production.

Logan Center Exhibitions
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