Diana Machulina’s Dance Macabre is a parody, a “song sung beside” Andy Warhol’s Dance Diagrams from the early 1960s, for which Warhol reproduced “readymade” diagrams of ballroom dance steps onto canvas and displayed them on the floor. Machulina’s visual mode is allied to the farcical mode of death dances, wherein the animated corpse takes its form and attributes from its victim. The simultaneous scission and multiplication of hypothetical dancers from one in Warhol’s Diagrams to two in Dance Macabre, and the rendering of the second dancer’s footprints as those of a cadaverous skeleton, signal the exponentiation of potential readings of Macabre, the farcical re-mortification of original models, and the enunciation of “a realm of the non-me, not-that, from which we recoil.” Macabre thus reenacts the construction of a dialogic relationship with its past, re-staging a parody and mortification of both inherited painterly legacy.
Ruth Sargent Noyes
“Dance Macabre” was initially shown at American Academy in Rome, 2014