September 21, 2014 - Hamburger Bahnhof - Museum für Gegenwart - Berlin - Mariana Castillo Deball
September 21, 2014

Mariana Castillo Deball

Installation view of Mariana Castillo Deball: Parergon. © Mariana Castillo Deball, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Nationalgalerie. Photo: Thomas Bruns.

Mariana Castillo Deball

September 20, 2014–March 1, 2015

Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart – Berlin
Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
Invalidenstraße 50-51
10557 Berlin 
Hours: Tuesday–Friday 10am–6pm,
Thursday 10am–8pm,
Saturday–Sunday 11am–6pm

Beginning in September, the artist Mariana Castillo Deball (b. 1975, Mexico City)—who was awarded the Preis der Nationalgalerie (National Gallery Prize) in 2013—shows a project especially developed for her solo exhibition in the historic hall at Hamburger Bahnhof. This large-scale installation unites diverse artistic reflections that intersect historical research, philosophy and art; all of which are decisive for Mariana Castillo Deball’s work. The artist appropriates specific subject areas for her own works and transfers the emergent research process, which is reminiscent to methods of archaeology, ethnography and the history of science, into a contemporary artistic use of visual forms. She sets that which has been forgotten into new contextual relationships in order to allow images to be both experienced and to create alternative readings.

In this exhibition at Hamburg Bahnhof, the artist devotes herself to the “biographies of things.” She directs her attention to objects in museum collections, where it is not unusual for them to have “spent itinerant lives wandering between courtyards, basements, pedestals, display cases, museums, traveling exhibitions and private collections.” (Mariana Castillo Deball)

Objects and works of art from various Berlin museums stand out as the focus of the presentation, above all, however, those that were connected to the Nationalgalerie’s collection at different points in time. As Parergon (supplementary work, byproduct), the title of the exhibition suggests, the history of the collections, its buildings, exhibits and protagonists is examined and decrypted, in particular with regard to its migrations and reorganizations. Castillo Deball places special attention on connections that occur outside the frame of what is known and is unambiguous. The degree of influence that a museum (as an institution) and its representatives have on the lives and the status of objects is a major focus of the artist’s reflections.

The subject of the installation is less concerned with the actual facts of the strongly research-based project, but instead aims to develop a situation that can be experienced through the senses, in which the artist links her own newly developed works to historical exhibits. New narrations and interconnections that arise between the various objects, historical breaks and chance occurrences provide Mariana Castillo Deball with the material for her own artistic interventions.

She “would like to create a type of opera, in which a repertoire made up of objects, buildings and architectural reconstructions appear as the main characters.” (Mariana Castillo Deball) These diverse characters enact a “stage play” at the museum, in which their old, familiar ways used in the past and their previous adventures determine the dramaturgy of the exhibition.

As a further level to her storytelling, the artist created an audio piece that provides insights into the preliminary research process, and is available to the visitor in the form of an audio guide. The voices of specialists, contemporary witnesses and fictitious characters are given their say and share very individual viewpoints and experiences with the visitors, which are connected to the complex history of Hamburger Bahnhof, the Nationalgalerie’s collection and the exhibits shown in the exhibition.

A publication accompanying the exhibition is being published by the Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König, Cologne, with texts by Kirsty Bell, Dario Gamboni and Melanie Roumiguière.

The exhibition is made possible by the Verein der Freunde der Nationalgalerie and supported by BMW.

Ed. by Melanie Roumiguière for the Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. Texts by Kirsty Bell, Mariana Castillo Deball, Dario Gamboni and Melanie Roumiguière. Published by Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König, Cologne. German/English, soft cover, 352 pages, 172 illustrations.

Media partner
Tip Berlin, frieze d/e

With kind support of Leineman-Stiftung für Bildung und Kunst.

Press contact
Dr. Katharina von Chlebowski, Markus Farr
T +49 (0) 30 26 39 48 80 / F +49 (0) 30 26 39 48 811 /

Mariana Castillo Deball at Hamburger Bahnhof
Hamburger Bahnhof - Museum für Gegenwart - Berlin
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