Organics and Id – Marianna Dellekamp
Mexican photography during the 1990’s began to shift from a focus on folklore and tradition to more conceptual uses of imagery where photography was another tool at the disposal of the artist. The change coincided with the inaguration of the new Centro Nacional de las Artes, in Mexico City. Among the first to exhibit there in 1994 was Marianna Dellekamp, with her series: In Situ.
Her work was both modern and introspective: self portraits of her moving through water were shown with a creative use of photo, video, and installation pieces. It is perhaps her most thoroughly personal work, but not the most explicit. Marianna often includes herself, or parts of her body in her work, and In Situ was simply a foreshadowing of this. It also foretold her predilection for of all things organic–be it in shape, color, or actual theme. Her use of diptychs and triptychs were experiments in variations on a theme, that eventually blossomed into an open penchant for seriality. Repetitions, explorations, and subtle re-accommodations of a single theme emerge in her work, be it in collections of earth, apartments for rent, women’s bodies, or book-shelves.
A Serial Journey – Marianna Dellekamp
It is in Trains, her oldest and still ongoing project, that her search for seriality is exposed as a personal quest. What are otherwise snapshot mementos of a trip, are instead neatly ordered collections of train journeys that trace a route around who Marianna is.
At heart, Marianna seems to be a collector, and her images sometimes have a suppressed feeling of being curated by the director of a museum of natural history (in the positive sense). This is openly apparent in her Body Fluids series of 1998, and again in Mediated Body of 2002. In other series the sense is more subtle, like the way she presents her subjects. They are on display–properly labeled and categorized for the didactic ease of the viewer. In Anthropology of the Modern Body (1999) this was perhaps a deliberate call to her denunciation of how mass media affects women’s perception of their own body. Ten years later, her intervention of bookshelves, and self published books have a similar echo of cataloging, sorting, and record keeping.
Variations on a Theme – Marianna Dellekamp
Her most recent work, The Earth Library, may seem like a departure from her inner explorations, but many of the characteristics that identify her work are readily apparent. The overarching theme is a collection of soils from around the world–an explicit nod to her seriality and need to collect. There too is her penchant to catalog, label, and display. And of course there is the handling of earth with it’s wonderful array of textures and colors; simply another way of exploring the molecularity of a something organic.
Marianna Dellekamp – Where to See Her Work