Dogon takes its name from the Dogon people of what is today central Mali, whose religion, philosophy, astronomical and medical knowledge were documented extensively by French anthropologist Marcel Griaule beginning in 1946. Although the accuracy of Griaule’s records of Dogon religion and history are disputed by scholars today, they were popular and widely influential in France, and were a likely source of inspiration for Cárdenas. The primary narrative in these texts focuses on the Nommo, the ancestral spirits worshipped by the Dogon. Griaule states, “Most of the conversations… turned largely on twins and on the need for duality and the doubling of individual lives. The Eight original Ancestors were really eight pairs… But after this generation, human beings were usually born single. Dogon religion and Dogon philosophy both expressed a haunting sense of the original loss of twin-ness. The heavenly Powers themselves were dual, and in their Earthly manifestations they constantly intervened in pairs…”  This tension between duality and unity, earthly and divine, negative and positive space, tangible and subconscious, is present in Dogon.
At once anthropomorphic and abstract, in Dogon Cárdenas incorporates both the verticality of Dogon sculpture (fig. 1) and the soft, unearthly texture typical of surrealist aesthetics. Rendered in luminous white Carrrara marble, it evokes human vertebrae yet teases away straightforward interpretation, residing fully in the realm of dreams and the subconscious. Glissant characterizes this interplay as “a phenomenon rare in the world of invented forms: a universe which reveals the organic from the outset, light and shade knit together, patience behind the material, the inexhaustible alliance of the torrid and the nocturnal.” Elusive and uncanny, Cárdenas’ Dogon elegantly embraces these dualities and comes alive with subconscious associations under the gaze of the spectator.
 Marcel Griaule, Conversations With Ogotemmêli: an Introduction To Dogon Religious Ideas., Oxford, 1965, p. 198
 José Pierre, La Sculpture de Cárdenas, Brussels, 1971, p. 136
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