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Other Perspectives

Giuseppe Penone

Member, since the late 1960s, of the Arte povera movement, Giuseppe Penone is an internationally renowned artist. His work is marked by an interrogation about man and nature. A retrospective was devoted to him at the Georges Pompidou Centre in 2004. In 2013, he was the guest artist at Versailles Palace.

"The painter [of the Chauvet cave] has used the hollow in the rock wall to emphasise the shape of the animal, using the empty space to give an impression of relief. This is a very sophisticated representative technique. It gives the impression of movement. In the paintings of the Chauvet cave, there is a repetition of signs, which gives an idea of progress, as if the figure is moving, like in the futurist works of the early 20th century. It's unbelievable finding this whole repertoire of languages and expressions, so close to our own culture, in a 35,000-year-old representation. I find it extraordinary, really touching.

The other thing that really touches me is the freshness: you feel as if these things have been done a few days or a few hours ago. Time really is suspended, with no landmarks. We are in an abstraction of time, which is a really unique thing. It really is a hugely important monument. It probably gives us the same sense of wonder as we might get looking at the Sistine Chapel or Giotto's Chapel in Padua. These places have a certain magic created by a little touch of colour".