Amarantus is the first retrospective in Mexico of Mariana Castillo Deball's art, who has created a vast body of work in the space between science, narrative, fiction and the visual arts, as well as their relationship with the ways in which Mexico’s precolonial history has been appropriated and investigated at different times.


The artist has addressed the way in which knowledge and culture are produced, represented and disseminated. Castillo Deball has explored the fields of archaeology, science, literature and technology and has collaborated with museums and other institutions outside the field of contemporary art.

Her interest in how chance determines, to a large extent, the way we learn about the world and the narratives we create has led her to investigate the history of certain artifacts and their vicissitudes, reproductions, appropriations and disappearances. These objects, or substitute images, conceptually approach the ancient Nahua notion of ixiptla, which can be interpreted as representation, image and substitute, but also skin. This concept is indispensable for approaching many of Castillo Deball’s projects over the past decade.

The word amarantus comes from the Greek Αμάρανθος, which describes a flower that never dies. This plant is still used to prepare anthropomorphic and zoomorphic figures that are ritually consumed by some indigenous peoples in Mexico. The amaranth flower represents the persistence of these “uneasy objects” that Castillo Deball makes visible in her historical itineraries and approximations, and which keep speaking to us in the present.


This exhibition showcases some of the artist’s major collaborations, like the one made with researcher Tatiana Falcón, as well as the one developed with the organization Cooperación Comunitaria.


Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo (MUAC)

Until May 1st, 2022

Av. Insurgentes Sur 3000, C.U., Coyoacán, 04510 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico