On a very rainy day I did the long drive a little bit north from Bordeaux to the Pair non Pair Cave. It is a very ancient site. Even before the Cro Magnons came to Europe it has been inhabited by people. It is a rare decorated cave which wasn't only a sanctuary but also a living place. There are engravings as old as those in the Chauvet cave over 25.000 years, probably around 30.000 years old. They used to be painted as well but the colours have gone through the ages.
No complex webs of lines here but clearly delineated and styled figures in perfect perspective. I loved the horse bending his head backwards twice in the same position. Some are positioned face to face like a male and a female deer, touching to see the communication between the animals.
That did strike me before the animals are often represented in herds, different kinds of relationships among them are shown, different kind of behaviours and typical positions. Forms of violence or struggle are extremely rare.
May be that is what in that incomprehensible way attracts me in this art in these cultures the harmonious relationship with nature. I have a 'memory' or dream, of living like that. And a deep feeling that that is exactly what life is supposed to be: a joyful exploration and celebration of the beauty of nature and the many delicate wonders which it holds. In prehistoric times animals outnumbered humans by far, so naturally they are shown as the most impressive inhabitants of this planet. Nowadays it would look different, times did change and those wild animal herds are not in our daily view anymore but the principle is still the same and that is what I like to show and communicate in my "cave paintings"; the beauty of nature organising itself.
What was interesting to see how daily life was taking place trough those many many centuries people that people did live there and why it was such a well suited place to live. There was water during in from one site in the cave and leaving a few meters further on the other side after crossing a kind of natural bath tub. What a luxury in ice age times!
And the there a fire place and there a sleeping place or a place to make your stone tools. An entrance to small for cave bears and easy to defend against cave lions. Place enough for around 20 people. You can easily make the picture when you see it.
Afterwards I did visit "the museum of Aquitaine in Bordeaux" because there they show some of the pieces found in the Pair non pair cave. Among it was the remains of a flute. I would love to hear someone play a flute on those ancient sacred places. And the concept of music still remains strongly present for me.
Another famous treasure of this museum are the "Venus" sculptures found in Laussel. Voluptuous women, either pregnant for the xth time or at least mothers of a whole serie of children. A sculpted beautiful male torso from the same time is rather thin. it is from the Gravetian era, approximately 25.000 years ago and found not far from where I stay in Les Eyzies de Tayac.
What I liked about the museum is that you can easily travel thought time, You walk trough prehistoric times to the bronze age with menhirs and dolmen to the Roman age with his own monumental beauty to the Middle ages with mixed early Christian and pagan sculptures to more known modern times. The layering of time and the interconnectedness of those time layers keeps fascinating me. And what a joy to be able to time travel and visit briefly and lightly all those different times, all present now.