“It is the lesson from the old book: the kinship of Athens and Oraibi.” These are the words art historian Aby Warburg used (rephrasing a line from Faust) to open his 1923 lecture on the Pueblo Indians. With the notion of kinship, Warburg meant that, when he travelled to Arizona at the end of the nineteenth century, he was at the same time in the Athens of more than 2000 years earlier. This simultaneity transcends mere imagination, and can be better described as a kind of synchronic being. The ornamented object, for Warburg, has the power to transport us along and across the history of human culture; a journey between pagan antiquity, Pueblo religion, and modernity.
Athens and Orabi explores Warburg’s concept of simultaneity through the contemporary architectural vernacular. Warburg accompanied the lecture with his own photographs, illustrations, and notes, which presented the objects he found in the desert in an abstract language. Warburg’s images of ancient Pueblo furnishings inspired Evron to think about everyday construction elements.
Home Depot, mass produced, stair stringers are painted with a motif that echoes the visual language of Native American objects and Greek Vase, at the same time resonating with early modernist art, such as Sonja Delaunay’s textiles, and later American Minimalism. The photographs are mounted on various wallpapers of Middle Eastern desert landscapes, thus completing a journey, or perhaps just adding one more element to an ever-expanding kinship.
(Manifest Journal for American Architecture)