Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Why is Cave Art so good?


The Chauvet Cave is one of the most famous prehistoric rock art sites in the world. All of the cave art paintings have been dated between 30,000 & 33,000 years ago, making them the oldest yet discovered. I bet many art galleries would not show them because Damian Hirst & Co is the standard of art these days. But I digress ;-)

Besides being beautiful, they are and will always be surrounded by the mystery: why were they painted? I got my theory.

My artistic need of creating images feels like eons old.
When I draw I feel empowered: I create! I create something I like, I dream of, I “hold” in my hands, I make love to, I caress, I mould as I please.
My need of drawing feels very primitive.
I do have ideas that spit out conceptual art. Studying at an Art Faculty in the early 90s, it was all about ideas. My art results back then were good, sometimes very good. Installations, shit like that. But I was not happy. I didn’t go to an art school to challenge anyone. I was trying to release that ancient spirit in need of creating.
So, while not speaking for the Cave Artist himself (herself?), I think those images were created based on this need: to feel strong, to posses the forces of nature, to feel safe; and maybe to get groupies?
However, if one pays good attention, what one sees on the walls, the curved, irregular walls, are not really sketches. They are minimal, yet sufficiently expressive, complete images.
Did the Cave Artist had a sketch book where he practiced and only came to the wall when he was ready? I sincerely doubt that!
And here is my theory why: back then, the mind was clear. We think in words. When you “talk” to yourself in your head, most of the time, if not always, you hear words. The Cave Man was thinking, probably, in images, instincts, feelings. No wonder the result of his art is amazing! And doesn’t need to be explained, like Mr Hirst’s. Oops, I digress again.
Chauvet Cave

Chauvet Cave

Chauvet Cave

Chauvet Cave

Chauvet Cave

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