14th February – 12th April 2009
The Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen is presenting the first solo exhibition of Mexican artist Mariana Castillo Deball (*1975) in Switzerland. At the same time we will be showing a project by Swiss artist Jürg Lehni (*1978) and English artist Alex Rich (*1975). We are very pleased to begin 2009 with this double exhibition, which scrutinizes the functions of science and technique in very different ways. In this process-oriented shows, not only will the participating artists function as important protagonists, but so too will the other guests invited on different occasions. Furthermore, the audience itself will be interacting with the exhibits.
In her works, Mariana Castillo Deball maps out areas of action and memories as well as object worlds that all display a specific historical and cultural context. During her research, the artist looks for institutions that house collections, classifications, catalogues and (re-)presentations of cultural assets, such as libraries, museums and archives, and which represent a symbolic classification of the world. After the process of collecting and selecting information, she often creates site-specific installations, objects, photographs, video and audio-works, that feature a fictional background story. Castillo Deball not only consciously uses scientific methods such as collecting, evaluating, selecting, but also theoretical writing. The artist finds a media transfer for these processes whilst checking the conventions and standards of the museum's presentation and its archive management. In terms of content, the spectrum of visual and narrative examinations covers many different fields, such as archaeology, anarchy, ethnology, the musealization, display conventions within museums, philosophy and the history of technics. Alongside this approach, the artist also shows a special interest in collaborations with other cultural producers. These often result in performances, book projects or installations.
During the last few years, Castillo Deball’s mode of work has been based on a kaleidoscopic approach towards language: Different disciplines and ways to describe the world can clash and thereby generate a polyphonic voice. Based on the idea of a kaleidoscope, Castillo Deball has developed a project for the Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen in which she implements her central artistic theme of site-specific archiving for St. Gallen. In our world that is flooded by masses of information, this topic is more relevant than ever. In her work with archives, the artist is above all interested in changing, deleting or reversing their order and thus bestowing them with a new reading mode. In these ordered spaces, she seeks to find proof of the fact that we cannot make sense of the world without treating it irreverently and playfully. In the exhibition, as well as in her artistic practice, a tension between order and coincidence exists, especially when these two elements coexist.
«Kaleidoscopic Eye» seeks to serve as a connection between important sites and the history of St. Gallen. The encyclopaedic archive of materials of the Sitterwerk, the city’s textile history and the Kunst Halle are involved. The Sitterwerk with its database of materials and its extensive library functions as a place for ways to sort things, for experimentation as well as for artistic production (Art Foundry). Castillo Deball is going to conduct research in this place and will carry out an intervention, which will be displayed in both the Sittertal and the Kunst Halle. The artist will also produce a new film dedicated to the tradition of embroidery in St. Gallen which will show its manifold patterns in a kaleidoscopic way. It will be shown in the Kunst Halle alongside further works recently created by the artist. Castillo Deball will also enliven the Kunst Halle with a monumental installation that will in fact constitute the exhibition architecture. An artistic publication with texts by Mariana Castillo Deball and Dario Gambosi, professor of Art History at the University of Geneva, accompanies the show.
Special thanks to Sitterwerk/Kunstgiesserei St. Gallen, Heeb Elektro AG Küsnacht, Speckert + Klein AG Zürich for the cooperation.