Friday, 21 March 2008

19 three painted caves

december 2005
156mm x 218mm
4 loose sheets in flapped folder
12 copies

Three poems from 2005, inspired by visits to three painted subterranean caves in France - Grottes de Gargas, Grotte de Villars and Cavernes de Niaux. Each cave has its own unique characteristics and atmosphere which gave rise to these meditations: in Gargas there is the low rock ceiling, in Villars there are faint calcite accretions of millennia covering the paintings, and in Niaux there is the resonant central chamber, deep within the cave and only reached after a kilometre or so of walking. Pasted inside the folder is tracing paper holding a faint impression of one of the poems, taken from the ink bleeding through wet paper. The action of water plays such a large part in what remains of paintings in the caves that this was appropriate. The impression is faint - we can just make out a few words - which is also just about our present understanding of rock painting from a distance of thirty thousand years or more, and that thanks to the work of people such as David Lewis-Williams, of the meaning and purpose of the images in the caves.

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