14 March 2013

Art and origin

The true cognitive depth to the palaeolithic sculptures – their challenge, ultimately, to our anthropological schema – seems to me the way they suggest how self-loss and self-consciousness were intertwined. The movement of the new world of representations was at least twofold. One aspect (and that I have concentrated on the little figurines does not mean I have forgotten, or mean the reader to, that the overall image-world of the Ice Age is oriented to the bison, the mammoth, the horse, the cave bear, the reindeer, the wolverine) involved the invention, by the look of it somewhat suddenly, of more and more ways to bring the realm of animals up close, imaginatively – into being, into movement. The painters and carvers seem to have been intent on staging and immortalising the human animal’s familiarity with – maybe its dreamed-of inclusion in – a world where the ‘human’ was only a small part of the show. 
T. J. Clark

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