The consolation of art


Standing in front of the artwork in Lascaux cave I can feel the seldom found sublime consolation of art, its silent solace splurging across the immensity of time. It has a supernatural candor and a dream-like improbability. It feels like a mineshaft into a different dimension. The art is a projection of a precocious imagination, of a will too powerful, too deliberate, too intimate to be ignored, it is an exemplar of art itself. It is as if the artist or artists were possessed by a insatiable desire to communicate experiences which far transcend the range of thought or cognition. Words could only debauch the experience, even the oceanic splendors of poetry can only pollute the purity of the experience. The artist has captured something inherent in the human spirit and sealed it with a lambence that fatigues abstract thought and renders it impotent. The art has an aura of stillness and motion at the same time and a deep melodious sense of concentrated insight into something buried in the pre-conscious. There is much to be learned here, but what it is is still a mystery that requires a bravery unafraid to map new spiritual latitudes. It is a mirror which when looked upon reflects a different time, a different face. There is a haunting illumination unbound by time or mental categories. It is outside the typical  order imposed by the mind and leaves us befuddled with an anguished curiosity and sensual wonder far greater than the order of any self-knowledge. It is a powerful blow which is stunning, as if time has been fermenting in this underground cauldron.  It is a mystery play for which we are uninitiated.  All the raw material of life has not prepared us for this, it has all been only the barest potential compared to the vertiginous insights deployed in this art.  We are only allowed to remain in the reproduction for forty minutes and the time has sped by and I can’t believe it is time to leave.  Then we are abruptly facing a door and follow the crowd out suddenly leaving the cave, stepping from this reproduction of the ancient gallery into the hot nude sky we are looking out over the Vezere River valley in the distance.  A sidewalk leads us around the edge of the hill and back to the parking lot.  I shake my head in wonderment, what have we seen here? It is a profound mystery, a dramatic time shift,  a captivating work of art, which leaves me speechless, unable to articulate, to find words to express the emotions and the aesthetic shock of it.  It will take some time to absorb.

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