Mariana Castillo Deball presents a series of new works for her first presentation at kurimanzutto, New York. Composed of a fluid dialogue between works on paper and printed matter, Point reminds the viewer that skin and paper seem to share the same nature, as the wrapping or envelope of plants, humans, and animals. The body of works in this exhibition are grafts of the same skin: a skin for thought, which is not a contained skin, but a skin that can be shared, acting as an extended tissue between different bodies.
Visitors are welcomed by the drawing Petlacoatl, taken from the Nahua word meaning, “mat woven of snakes pointing in all directions.” Petlacoatl was an omen of the divinatory calendar, which when found, signified one would either immediately die, or become a governor (for that to happen, you would need to first sit on it). Further drawings in the show depart from the figure of Xipe Totec, often depicted as a man wearing the flayed skin of another on top of his own. The Nahua concept of ixiptla derives from the particle xip, meaning skin, coverage or shell. A natural outer layer of tissue that covers the body of a person or animal, the skin can be separated from the body to produce garments, containers for holding liquids or parchment as a writing surface. Ixiptla has been understood to comprise a multitude of meanings: image, delegate, character, and representative. Ixiptla could be a container, yet also can be the actualization of power infused into an object or person. In Nahua culture, it took the form of a statue, a vision, or a victim who turned into a god destined to be sacrificed. Without having to visually appear the same, multiple ixiptlas of the same god could exist simultaneously.
The project also includes Do ut des, a series of book works from the collection The museums of the world. This series comprises books altered with perforations from the front page inwards, which become symmetrical patterns when opened fully. Each book is dedicated to a different museum in the world, and contains a spread collage showing the dimensions of the artworks in the exhibition space in relation to human scale.
Following her interest in publishing and the interaction between different cultural practitioners, Castillo Deball displays her printed matter dating from 2003. Including around 30 publications, the artist considers publishing a central part of her practice; her artist’s books, editions and the journal Ixiptla run parallel to her exhibition practice. In these publications, Castillo Deball makes visible her collaborative approach to knowledge, including fiction, research and text contributions by cultural practitioners from different disciplines.