Sanja Savkic

Contact

Dr Sanja Savkic
Research Associate
Institut für Kunst- und Bildgeschichte
Humboldt Universität
Georgenstraße 47
10117 Berlin
Email: savkic@bilderfahrzeuge.org

Research project

Feather works: The Florentine Codex (General History of the Things of New Spain by Fray Bernardino de Sahagún), Vol. 2, Book IX, folio 65; XVI century manuscript. Reproduced with the permission of ©Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, Florence.

The lives of things in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica and early colonial New Spain

This research project aims to explore the Americas’ past in terms of the migration of images, objects, commodities and texts, and with them the migration of ideas. It revolves around the term Bilderfahrzeuge, ‘image vehicles,’ coined by the German art historian Aby Warburg. The focus is placed on the cultural superarea dubbed Mesoamerica, especially when referred to its pre-Columbian history, and its parts named New Spain in the XVI century when it became a part of the Spanish crown. The intention of this study is to reflect upon the effects of the generation of knowledge in the humanities and social sciences beyond this area, as well as to gain a better understanding of these cultures’ place within world art histories.

One of the central themes addresses the circulation of things and all forms of artistic exchange and interaction within (and beyond) Mesoamerica in order to understand the transmission and construction of knowledge, formation and transformation of aesthetic languages, as well as concepts of images and their agency in religious, political, social and economic spheres. One of the working hypotheses is that the visual cultures of ancient Mesoamerica that were in contact with each other shared a common conceptual ‘vocabulary’ around which interpretive communities developed with different perspectives, and social, political, artistic and other attitudes.

Further, this project considers the new realities that emerged both in the New and Old Worlds since the conquest of the American continent, particularly the processes regarding mobility of images related to the XVIcentury New Spain, which brings forward a transregional perspective. The study is interested in exploring artistic and intellectual connections and exchange between New Spain and Europe: What impact did the European artistic world have on the Mesoamerican? How did pre-Columbian traditions, knowledge, techniques, and the creation of post-Conquest images transform the course of Western art? What were the problems involved in understanding the notions and agencies of images, especially in the religious sphere for the purposes of conversion of the indigenous peoples?

Profile

Sanja Savkic received her Ph.D. in Art History (Indigenous Art of the Americas), as well as her M.St. in Mesoamerican Studies from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). In 2012, she was honoured as the most distinguished graduate in art history, and received the Alfonso Caso Medal for her doctoral dissertation. Savkic was a postdoctoral fellow at the UNAM’s Institute of Anthropological Research from 2014-16. From 2016-17, she was an Art Histories and Aesthetic Practices postdoctoral fellow at the Berlin-based Forum Transregionale Studien, a research program initiated by the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut, and funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Recently, she was an affiliated fellow of the same program. Savkic also collaborated with the Ethnologisches Museum in Berlin on the preparation of the information for several media stations related to the exhibition of its Mesoamerican collection at the Humboldt Forum. Most recently, she was a postdoctoral fellow at the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz, under the direction of Prof. Dr. Gerhard Wolf. Presently she holds the position of scientific collaborator in the framework of the International Research Group “Bilderfahrzeuge: Aby Warburg’s Legacy and the Future of lconology,” and works on her research project “The lives of things in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica and early colonial New Spain.” The cross-disciplinary approach she cultivates (art history–anthropology–archaeology) has been an integral part of her research relating to pre-Columbian Mesoamerican visual cultures, especially the ancient Maya, to which now she is summing the study of artistic and intellectual connections and exchange between New Spain and Europe during XVI century.

Publications (selection)

Books and edited volumes

Culturas visuales indígenas en las Américas desde la antigüedad hasta el presente, EstudiosIndiana 13, edited by Sanja Savkic and Hannah Baader, Berlin: Ibero-Amerikanisches Institut – Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Gebr.Mann Verlag, to be published in 2019.

To be published both in print and online open access formats.

Sanja Savkic, Valores plástico-formales del arte maya del Preclásico tardío a partir de las configuraciones visuales de San Bartolo, Petén, Guatemala[Doctoral Dissertation in Art History (2012), Faculty of Philosophy and LettersNational Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM)], Mexico: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Dirección General de Publicaciones y Fomento Editorial – Dirección General de Cómputo y Tecnologías de la Información y la Comunicación – Dirección General de Evaluación Institucional – Colection Ciencia Nueva: Doctorados UNAM,2016,366 pp., and 2 plates.

Journal essays/ articles

Sanja Savkic, “Pirámide de las Pinturas de San Bartolo, El Petén, Guatemala: espacialidad”, in Estudios de Cultura Maya, Vol. L, Mexico: Centro de Estudios Mayas, Instituto de Investigaciones Filológicas, UNAM, 2017, pp. 61-94.

Sanja Savkić, “Composition, perception and signification of the Maya Late Preclassic images on the corners of the edifices”, in: Matica Srpska Proceedings for Fine Arts42, Novi Sad: Matica srpska, 2014, pp. 13-26.

Sanja Savkić, “Architecture at San Bartolo, El Peten, Guatemala: Object and Subject”, in: Anthropology14, Vol. 1, Journal of the Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, Belgrade: Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade, 2014, pp. 79–95.

Sanja Savkic, “Léxico cromático y la ideología maya”, in:Estudios de Cultura Maya36. Mexico: Centro de Estudios Mayas, Instituto de Investigaciones Filológicas, UNAM, 2011, pp. 99–119.

Essays for edited volumes

  • forthcoming:

Sanja Savkic, “Tombs of K’inich Janaab Pakal I and Jasaw Chan K’awiil I: Materiality of death and the matter of permanence” 

To be published in the journal RES: Anthropology and Aesthetics (University of Chicago Press Journals, publ. in association with the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University; Ed. Francesco Pelizzi).

This will be a special issue of RES, derived from the workshop Fashioned from Holy Matter. A Cross-Cultural Workshop on the Semantics of Image-Making (2017), coord. by Jessica Richardson and Annette Hoffmann, Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut.

  • forthcoming:

Sanja Savkic, “La materialidad de la palabra maya antigua: el caso de los huesos labrados”

To be published in the colective book Los sistemas de escritura mesoamericanos, ed. by Erik Velásquez García and María Elena Vega Villalobos, Mexico: Instituto de Investigaciones Estéticas, UNAM). 

This book is a result of the PAPIIT IN402213 collective project “Las escrituras jeroglíficas maya y náhuatl: desciframiento, análisis y problemas actuales”, UNAM, Mexico.

  • forthcoming:

Sanja Savkic, “La integración plástica en la sexta fase arquitectónica del grupo Las Pinturasde San Bartolo, Guatemala”

To be published in the collective book product of the collective research project Architecture and Other Arts,in the framework of the seminar Architecture and Urbanism, coord. by Verónica Hernández Díaz, Mexico: Instituto de Investigaciones Estéticas, UNAM.

  • forthcoming:

Sanja Savkic, “The Appropriation of Space and Time through the Built Environment: The Case of Las Pinturas Group at San Bartolo, Guatemala” 

To be published in the Proceedings of International Conference Signs of Place: A Visual Interpretation of Landscape (2016), ed. by Julian Jansen van Rensburg, Berlin: Excellence Cluster Topoi, Freie Universität.

  • forthcoming:

Sanja Savkic and Massimo Stefani, “Narrativas a través del entorno construido de la Gran Plaza de Calakmul” 

To be published in Proceedings of theI Congreso Internacional de Arquitectura e Iconografía Precolombina (2016), Valencia: Universidad Politécnica de Valencia.

S. Savkic: Text; M. Stefani: 3D images

  • forthcoming:

Sanja Savkic, “La serpiente con plumas y otros polimorfos con rasgos serpentinos en la imaginería maya temprana”

To be published in the Proceedings of theXXXVIII Coloquio Internacional de Historia del Arte: Animalística (2014), editorial coordinator Pablo Francisco Amador Marrero, Mexico: Instituto de Investigaciones Estéticas, UNAM.

Sanja Savkic and Massimo Stefani, “La Gran Plaza de Calakmul en el Preclásico tardío”, in: Proceedings of the Primer Congreso Internacional Patrimonio Cultural y Nuevas Tecnologías: Una visión Contemporánea, 2015 (online publication).

S. Savkic: Text; M. Stefani: 3D images and videos (virtual reality)

Conference Papers/ Lectures/ Talks

Sanja Savkic, “Estudio de la cultura visual y las transferencias artísticas en el sureste mesoamericano en el periodo Preclásico”, Symposium 3/9. A Study of Indigenous Imagery in the Americas: Themes and Problems, 56th International Congress of Americanists, Salamanca, Spain, 16 July 2018

José Luis Pérez Flores (Facultad de Ciencias Sociales y Humanidades, Universidad Autónoma de San Luis Potosí, Mexico) and I were the organizers of the Symposium 3/9.

Sanja Savkic, “The Materiality of the Classic Maya Artifacts”,WorkshopFashioned from Holy Matter. A Cross-Cultural Workshop on the Semantics of Image-Making, Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut, 6 July 2017

Sanja Savkic, “La integración plástica en la sexta fase arquitectónica de la Pirámide de las Pinturas de San Bartolo, Guatemala”, II Colloquium of Architecture and Urbanism Seminar Architecture and Other Arts, Mexico City, Instituto de Investigaciones Estéticas–Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), 13 March 2017

Sanja Savkic, “Engaging Preclassic Maya Visual Configurations at San Bartolo, Guatemala”, XX. Mesoamerikanistik-Tagung-2017, Rautenstrauch-Joest Museum – Kulturen del Welt, Cologne, and Universität Bonn, 21 January 2017

Sanja Savkic and Massimo Stefani, “Narrativas a través del entorno construido de la Gran Plaza de Calakmul”, I Congreso Internacional de Arquitectura e Iconografía Precolombina, Universidad Politécnica de Valencia, Spain, 16 November 2016

Sanja Savkic, “Engaging Preclassic Maya Visual Configurations at San Bartolo, Guatemala”, Art Histories Seminar 2016/2017, Forum Transregionale Studien, Berlin, 3 November 2016

Sanja Savkic, “Appropriation of Space and Time through Built Environment: The Case of the Pyramid of the Paintings, San Bartolo, Guatemala”, International ConferenceSigns of Place – A Visual Interpretation of Landscape, Excellence Cluster Topoi, Freie Universität, Berlin, 27 October 2016

Sanja Savkic, “Integración plásticain the sixth constructive phase of the Pyramid of the Paintings at San Bartolo, Guatemala”, Architecture and Urbanism Seminar, Mexico City, Instituto de Investigaciones Estéticas–UNAM, 16 May 2016

Sanja Savkic, “Visual Configurations at San Bartolo, El Peten, Guatemala”, Architecture and Urbanism Seminar, Mexico City, Instituto de Investigaciones Estéticas–UNAM, 23 November 2015

Sanja Savkic and Massimo Stefani, “La Gran Plaza de Calakmul en el Preclásico tardío”, I International Congress Patrimonio cultural y las nuevas tecnologías: una visión contemporánea, Mexico City, Museo Nacional de Antropología, 4 December 2014

Sanja Savkic, “El Grupo Las Pinturas, San Bartolo, El Petén, Guatemala”, Annual Archaeology Lecture Series Investigaciones recientes en el Petén guatemalteco, Mexico City, Centro de Estudios Mayas–Instituto de Investigaciones Filológicas–UNAM, 3 December 2014

Sanja Savkic, “La materialidad de la palabra maya antigua”, Second Conference of the Project PAPIIT IN402213 Las escrituras jeroglíficas maya y náhuatl: análisis, desciframiento y problemas actuales, Mexico City, Instituto de Investigaciones Estéticas–UNAM, 2 December 2014

Sanja Savkic, “La serpiente con plumas en la imaginería maya temprana”, XXXVIII Coloquio Internacional de Historia del Arte:Animalística, Merida, Yucatan, Mexico, 30 September 2014

Sanja Savkic, “Maya Languages and Writing”, Faculty of Philology–University of Belgrade, Faculty of Philology and Arts–University of Kragujevac, Faculty of Philosophy–University of Novi Sad, Serbia, 18 April; 20, 27 May; 19 December 2013

Sanja Savkic, “The Chromatic Lexicon and Maya Ideology”, International Conference Languages and Cultures in Time and Space 3, Faculty of Philosophy–University of Novi Sad, Serbia, 17 November 2013

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