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Heinz Kresl


Gebirge der Zeichen – Mythological Landscapes


In the Sierra Tarahumara in Mexico and in the Waldviertel in Lower Austria, there are landscapes that seem mythological. What both areas have in common is their inaccessibility; in the first case due to deep canyons, in the second due to formerly mighty primeval forests (the »northern forest«). If parts of the Tarahumara people living in the Sierra Tarahumara are still spared from civilization, the Waldviertel was not christianized until the 11th century. As a result, pagan – i.e. Germanic and Celtic – religions and myths were practised in this area for longer than in the surrounding areas. It is thanks to this circumstance there are legends in the Waldviertel that are related to landscape formations that were once places of worship. In many cases, the original meanings have been covered over with Christian content, but it is not difficult to recognize the ancient meanings.
The Sierra Tarahumara was visited in the 1930s by the French surrealist Antonin Artaud, who spent some time with the Tarahumara people and wrote several literary works about them. The quotes that were added to the photographs from the Tarahumara originate from these works.