1991-1992, 14 Painting on handmade paper

Dark is the cave.
We still do not know why Lascaux was created. The narrow corridor had to be crawled through before entering a huge cave whose ceilings and walls were, and still are, covered with scenes of hunting or magic, or both.

What struck me twenty-five years ago, and came back to me when I started this series, is the combination of geometric patterns, looking like quilts or carpets, with figurative representations of animals and other symbolic elements that paleontologist Leroy-Gourhan has identified as masculine and feminine (the arrow and the grid or corolla). In our times, we still struggle with these extremes of painting, oscillate between figurative and abstract, concept and matter.

Dark is the cave. Painting is like hunting or magic. It has the same qualities of fascination and cruelty. As the cavemen – or women - who used sticks, hollow bones, mineral and plant colors to paint this figures 15,000 years ago, I want to appropriate, maybe, some of the strength and courage of the animals I am painting.

Using the handmade paper I make from cotton and abaca, I thought of Tapies and Paul Klee, of the walls in Venice and Cairo. But also of the sheep and cow skins I saw one morning in Fez, Morocco, freshly died in purples, pinks and ochre, stretched to dry outside the city’s medieval walls. The animals killed in the abattoirs the night before were born again that morning as giant flowers.

The cave is dark as the beginnings of life and art. The flickering light of torches could still illuminate the pregnant woman between her two spotted horses. Her body overlaps with theirs. She shares their intuitions, their intensity, their raw beauty .She lent them her mane of hair. The heartbeat of her yet unborn child radiates through space.