CCA, Glasgow, until May 18th 2013 3 stars Anthropological detritus forms the bulk of this new body of work by Mexican artist Deball, which was co-commissioned by Cove Park and the Chisenhale Gallery in London, where it transfers later in the year. Deball's starting point is the work of explorer and archaeologist Alfred Maudslay, who learnt how to make paper moulds of ancient sculptures while on an expedition in 1881 in Guatamala; artist Eduardo Paolozzi and anthropologist Alfred Gell, Debell herself excavates the trio's work to make a series of papier mache sculptures based on the templates the three set down. Taken out of the forest and into a gallery space, there's a monumental state of grace imbued into each dried-up artefact that's part homage, part re-appropriation to give an eerie sense of isolated and undiscovered worlds. Set against a series of archive images of the original casts, traps and other artefacts that inspired this show, there's a sense of hand-me-down souvenirs being fed from their roots to the global village which Debell seems to occupy. If there's a danger here of ethnic fetishism, it's undercut by a wide-open sense of tranquillity, which allows the viewer the space to wander without ever feeling overwhelmed by the unfamiliar. With much of what's on show laying crumpled in tree-like formation on the floor, it's also the nearest most of us will get to such exotica without it being behind glass cases or else transposed into mass-market tat fore those in search of faux-authenticity. In this way, we're all explorers here, and if it's a jungle out there, Debell has tamed the beasts unleashed for a more meditative way of being.
The List, April 2013 ends