1991-1992, 14 Painting on handmade
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,
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