Cave of Forgotten Dreams (2010)
Only discovered in 1994 the Chauvet caves in Southern France were first opened in after being sealed tight for over 20,000 years. The treasure s they offer to today’s audience evidence that early humans were depicting life around them. The walls of this untouched cave hold some of the most fascinating works of art. They are not bright or bold in what they are trying to communicate. They don’t have a sale price, the unknown artists have no egos to stroke, just a need to illustrate the world around them. A world that is far different from the landscapes that we know today. During an ice age, surrounded by carnivores that both fed and fascinated them.
Cave of Forgotten Dreams (2010) courtesy of Werner Herzog takes us into this now protected cave that has been under observation for nearly 20 years since its discovery. We are allowed to explore this untouched world that has been protected by nature, surrounded by the remains of animals and stalagmites that glisten all around those who are now lucky enough to explore this lost cave and prehistoric gallery with its unique permanent collection.
A collection that however many times the camera passes over the drawings you absorb the detailed drawings that adorn the caves walls. The documentary makers are as restricted as us, keeping to a specially built platform that all visitors must stay on. Which itself enforces another level of respect and admiration for the work and the remains in the cave.
When we are pulled away from this fascinating discovery we learn more about the people who lived there from the archeologists and art historians who are their studying the cave. For me the art historians who have been mapping the drawings to build up an image of how and when they were drawn is incredible. Able to share with us how they worked around and up covering the main wall that is filled with horses, rhinos that fight each other. The drawings are full of vibrant energy in the few gestures of the lines made.
A rare and exciting chance to look into our past, a past that still speaks to us today. In the drawings and figurines that were found, the level of skill they had is impressive even to a modern audience, with all the technology we have that pulls us further and further away from the hand-made work that creates a more stimulating tactile and visual response in the viewer. This is a personal view of an artist who maintains and strong connection to making and the material in my work, something that was the only way in the time of these cave artists.
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