November 16, 2018 – January 13, 2019
Opening event and artist’s visit:
Friday, november 16, 6 – 8 pm
Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts
Logan Center Gallery, University of Chicago
Mariana Castillo Deball has titled her first solo exhibition in Chicago Petlacoatl, taken from the Nahua word meaning “mat woven of snakes pointing in all directions.” The symbol of the petlacoatl was often included in ancient Mesoamerican divinatory calendars and functioned as an omen that presaged either the impending demise or rise of a ruler. The works on view include a series of watercolor drawings, extruded metal sculptures, modular concrete tiles, and plaster sculptures that respond to the tonalpohualli, a 260-day calendar system. Marking time through twenty distinct periods that each last thirteen days, the calendar was a tool for divination as well as a visual representation of spatial coordinates and ritual practices. For the artist, tools for measuring time and telling fortunes such as the tonalpohualli and petlacoatl are emblematic of the material and immaterial connections in indigenous knowledge systems between bodies, both human and nonhuman, and the world. Deball’s installation at the Logan Center Gallery extrapolates from these systems to explore sculptural practice expanded through space and time.