Lights behind unfinished traces

A visit to Mariana Castillo Deball's site-specific installation and the fabrics that inspired it

By Mudec - Museum of Cultures

Curated by Katya Inozemtseva and Sara Rizzo

"Luce dietro tracce incompiute" Poster (2023) by Museum of CulturesMudec - Museum of Cultures

Luce dietro tracce incompiute

'Luce dietro tracce incompiute' ('Ligh behind unfinished traces') is the textile installation by Mexican artist Mariana Castillo Deball (b.1975), curated by Katya Inozemtseva and Sara Rizzo.

"Luce dietro tracce incompiute" Installation (2023) by Mariana Castillo DeballMudec - Museum of Cultures

In the agora

The installation welcomes visitors to the museum in its monumental dimensions.

"Luce dietro tracce incompiute" Installation (2023) by Mariana Castillo DeballMudec - Museum of Cultures

Preliminary research

In her seven textile sculptures, Mariana Castillo Deball reinterprets some precious textile fragments from different periods and origins: 10 belong to the Mudec collections and 2 to the Antonio Ratti Foundation in Como.

"Luce dietro tracce incompiute" Installation (2023) by Mariana Castillo DeballMudec - Museum of Cultures

Concept

Working with the collections of Mudec and Fondazione Ratti, Mariana Castillo Deball chose some textiles as inspiration for her watercolours. These interpreted images were printed on fabric in an enlarged format and assembled with additional textile elements.

"Luce dietro tracce incompiute" Installation (2023) by Mariana Castillo DeballMudec - Museum of Cultures

Collaboration with NABA

For Mariana Castillo Deball, it is essential to start a dialogue between institutions that are not limited to contemporary art. In this sense, the collaboration with students and professors from the NABA, Nuova Accademia di Belle Art, was crucial.

"Luce dietro tracce incompiute" Installation (2023) by Mariana Castillo DeballMudec - Museum of Cultures

NABA students lent their skills and knowledge to the project. During a workshop and under the guidance of the artist, the students helped to complete Mariana Castillo Deball's work, adding finishing touches, embroidery and details.

"Luce dietro tracce incompiute" Installation (2023) by Mariana Castillo DeballMudec - Museum of Cultures

This process created three-dimensional 'palimpsests', glowing with different meanings and stories.

Two cloths of a male poncho (7th-10th century) by Huari CultureMudec - Museum of Cultures

The Andean textile Collection at Mudec

Castillo Deball was inspired in particular by Andean textiles. These precious fabrics are striking for the abstract and highly graphic forms of expression of some pre-Hispanic cultures, and are characterized by an extraordinary rhythm of shapes and colours. Let's have a look!

Fragment of fabric (4th-2nd centuries B.C.) by Paracas culture (Ocucaje style)Mudec - Museum of Cultures

Paracas ceremonial mantle

This ceremonial mantle in the Ocucaje style is dated between 400 and 200 BC. His hand and dot painted decorations are made with a purplish dye of animal derivation, probably the secretion of the shellfish Concholepas concholepas (Peruvian tolin).

Fabric fragment (400-200 B.C.) by Paracas culture (Ocucaje style)Mudec - Museum of Cultures

The diamond decoration

This fragment of fabric is composed of two pieces of dark brown wool, joined in the direction of the longest side, knotted to obtain a diamond decoration and finally dyed, making the decorative pattern evident. This decoration is also typical of the Paracas-Ocucaje style too.

Fragment of a female skirt (1st century B.C. - 1st century A.D.) by Nasca CultureMudec - Museum of Cultures

Fragment of a Nasca female skirt

This ancient fragment is decorated with human figures and is an important testimony to the agricultural practices of the Nasca culture. The fabric, in which the figures are arranged in dense horizontal lines, is painted in the peculiar Nasca "horror vacui" style.

Fragment of a female skirt (1st century B.C. - 1st century A.D.) by Nasca CultureMudec - Museum of Cultures

Peasants appear with the typical white conical headdress holding some edible plants. Figures wearing the mask of the supreme deity Nasca are probably priests supervising the harvest. This may be a representation of an agricultural ritual.

Fabric fragment (1st-7th centuries) by Nasca-Huari CultureMudec - Museum of Cultures

Fragment of a Nasca-Huari fabric

This piece is made in discontinuous wefts and warps: a very complex technique that allows for completely double-faced fabrics. It also enables the manufacture of extremely light and visually striking textiles: here, the pattern is a typical two-tone stepped decorative motif.

Fragments of a tunic (600-1000 A.D.) by Huari-Tiahuanaco CultureMudec - Museum of Cultures

Huari-Tiahuanaco tapestry

The two fragments of the same tunic, woven for members of the male elite, are divided into two vertical decorative registers and depict winged zoomorphic figures with staffs, similar to those flanking the "Staff God" (Viracocha) in the ancient Sun Gate of Tiahuanaco, Bolivia. 

Fragments of a tunic (600-1000 A.D.) by Huari-Tiahuanaco CultureMudec - Museum of Cultures

Winged messengers

Here the heads seem to take on a llama character. This fabric is an excellent example of how the stylistic features of Huari-Tiahuanaco art are based on prevalent iconographic motifs through processes of stylisation, geometrization and distortion of a striking modernity. 

Mantle fragment (600-700 A.D.) by Nasca-Huari CultureMudec - Museum of Cultures

Nasca-Huari mantle fragment

Compositions of the size and quality found in this mantle fragment are rare. Around the 7th century AD, the influence of the important Huari group became one of the most characteristic features of the artistic manifestations of a large area of the southern coast of Perù.

Mantle fragment (600-700 A.D.) by Nasca-Huari CultureMudec - Museum of Cultures

A hybrid style

Tie-dye decoration mixes two different techniques to create two different decorative patterns, circles and diagonals, which alternate in the composition to create an extraordinary rhythm of shapes and colours.

Tunic fragment (9th-15th centuries) by Ica Chincha CultureMudec - Museum of Cultures

Ica Chincha tunic fragment

These tunic fragments are decorated with vibrant bird and skate fish motifs in a rectilinear and zoned style. Fabrics were so important in the Ica Chincha culture that the same decorative figures and geometric patterns were repeated on ceramics.

Tunic fragment (1400-1532) by Inca cultureMudec - Museum of Cultures

Feathers for the Inca elite

This fabric fragment depicts a series of feathers that were often applied in highly prestigious ceremonial textiles, intended for Inca or provincial elites.

Female manta (19th century) by Quechua PopulationMudec - Museum of Cultures

Female manta

This female manta of the XIX century was worn over the shoulders and fastened with a pin. Decorative motifs in natural colours reproduce the potato flower (papa tika), the stylised shape of a zigzagging river and other geometric motifs typical of the Cuzco Sierra. 

Fabric (post 1876 (Meiji era)) by JapanMudec - Museum of Cultures

A Meiji era fabric

Mariana Castillo Deball also picked a piece from the oriental collection. This precious Japanese-made textured fabric comes from the second half of the 19th century and is decorated with chrysanthemum (kiku) motifs. Kiku is the country's national flower.

Clothing fabric (Mid-19th century) by Cultures of JapanMudec - Museum of Cultures

Discover more

Mudec's collections are rich in textiles. Discover them by browsing our page on Google Arts & Culture!

Credits: Story

Giorgia Garuti, Sara Rizzo (supervisor)

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
Google apps