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Mariana Castillo Deball: Replaying Life’s Tape

5 October – 7 December 2019

Hannah Mathews

ACE Open, Adelaide
29 February – 25 April 2020

The first Australian exhibition of influential Mexico-born, Berlin-based artist Mariana Castillo Deball is the result of MUMA’s invitation to the artist to undertake a long-term project in the country.

Castillo Deball works across installation, sculpture, drawing, printmaking and publishing to explore histories of objects and ideas, and the meanings that they hold over time. Often drawing on the tools and methods of Western sciences including anthropology, archaeology and more recently palaeontology, her artworks reconfigure historical and cultural material in ways that show the world to us anew.

For her project at MUMA, Castillo Deball focused on Nilpena, an area north of Adelaide, which is home to one of the most well-preserved Ediacara fossil sites in the world. Now numbering around thirty such sites globally, the rich South Australian findings resulted in the naming of a new geological period. The Ediacaran Period, between 635 and 542 million years ago, directly preceded the Cambrian. Its large, complex organisms inhabited seafloors prior to the emergence of animals with skeletons and shells.

In 2018, Castillo Deball undertook a site visit to the Ediacara Hills with staff of the South Australian Museum who have significant holdings of the fossils in their collection and take annual site visits to the site for research and training. Using tactile methods such as ink rubbings and frottage, Castillo Deball documented the sandstone-based impressions, capturing images often more readable than the fossils themselves.

With Replaying Life’s Tape, Castillo Deball presented a scenographic recreation of the palaeoecology of the Ediacaran Period, combining objects, sculptural display systems, prints on fabric and paper, and schematic diagrams to consider the relationships between site, time and history.

Image: Mariana Castillo Deball, digital collage, production process Replaying Life’s Tape, 2019. Courtesy of Mariana Castillo Deball, 2019. Images © Studio Castillo Deball

Related Programs
MADA Art Forum: Mariana Castillo Deball

Wednesday 25 September 2019, 1–2pm

Installation Views
Mariana Castillo Deball-install-1
Mariana Castillo Deball-install-2
Mariana Castillo Deball-install-3
Mariana Castillo Deball-install-4
Mariana Castillo Deball-install-5
Mariana Castillo Deball-install-6
Mariana Castillo Deball-install-7
Mariana Castillo Deball-install-8


This exhibition has been supported by the Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen

Presented in partnership with Melbourne International Arts Festival