The artist Mariana Castillo Deball (*1975 in 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.