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Aby Warburg's work on the Matachines dance explored for the first time in a publication

Exhibition catalogue

News from Apr 11, 2022

On his journey to the American Southwest and his encounter with the Pueblo societies there, made famous by his lecture on the "Serpent Ritual", Aby Warburg also saw a Matachines dance in the small town of Cubero, New Mexico. In a first publication on the subject, historian and dance scholar Lindsey Drury (postdoc, EXC 2020) has examined Warburg's work on Matachines together with his purchase of Matachines dance objects. Her essay, entitled "The Blurred Bodies of Matachines: Aby Warburg's Notes on a New Mexican Colonial Dance Drama", was published in the catalogue accompanying the exhibition Blitzsymbol und Schlangentanz (Lightning Symbol and Snake Dance).

The special exhibition, currently running at the Museum am Rothenbaum – Kulturen und Künste der Welt (MARKK), presents for the first time the entirety of the preserved objects Warburg collected on his journey in 1895/96 and later donated to the Museum in Hamburg. It examines the cultural significance of the objects and sheds critical light on their acquisition history. This includes the incorporation of artistic positions of today's Pueblo societies as well as the question of how to respectfully deal with culturally sensitive content. The exhibition is on view until 08 January 2023.


Image credit: Exhibition catalogue, photo © EXC 2020

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