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Ixiptla Volume V
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The word amarantus, which gives name to this publication, comes from the Greek aμάρανθος, and describes a flower that never wilts. This plant is still used to prepare ixiptlahuan, which are anthropomorphic and zoomorphic figures that are ritually consumed by some indigenous peoples in Mexico. The amaranth flower represents the persistence of the “uncomfortable objects” that Mariana Castillo Deball makes visible in her historical itineraries and approximations, and that keep speaking to us in the present.
Ever since her early works, the artist has explored how chance — a product of the passing of time, erosion, fragmentation, and human intervention, among other factors — determines, to a large extent, the way we learn about the world and the narratives we create. This interest has led her to investigate the history of certain artifacts and their vicissitudes, reproductions, appropriations, and disappearances. Her formal strategies tend to reflect an inclination toward methodologies used by archaeologists to “trap” their findings. The resulting objects, or substitute images, conceptually approach the ancient Nahua notion of ixiptla, which can be interpreted as representation, image, and substitute, but also as skin. This concept is indispensable for approaching many of Castillo Deball’s projects from the past decade.

With texts by Catalina Lozano, Tatiana Falcón, Barbara Mundy, Emiliano Monge, Isadora Hastings, Diana Magaloni, Hubert Matiúwàa, Yansnaya Elena, Jennifer Reynolds-Kaye

Edited by Mariana Castillo Deball
Design Mariana Castillo Deball and Studio Manuel Raeder

This volume was published in the frame of the exhibition series “Amarantus” by Mariana Castillo Deball, presented at:
Museum für Gegenwartskunst Siegen, January 29—August 8, 2021
MUAC, Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico City, Mexico, October 16, 2021—May 1, 2022
Museo Artium, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain, November 5, 2021—March 13, 2022

ISBN 978-3-96436-046-5
22 x 25 cm
208 pages
Illustrations in colour, b/w
Soft cover with flaps

1 Exhibition