Thursday, 19 August 2010

Who are you?

Balkan heads, left; Japanese, right

Whether or not Picasso said of the prehistoric cave paintings in Altamira, Spain, that "after Altamira, all is decadence" (or as another legend has it, "We have learned nothing") something similar could be said of the ancient figurines and heads that are on display at the Sainsbury Institute gallery in Norwich, England. (More modern than the paintings at Altamira, nevertheless some are 5,000 years old.) It's too far for me to go, but a friend has sent on the brochure, and you can read more about it here.

The exhibit is of figurines from the Balkans and from Japan – separated by an immeasurable distance in prehistoric times (and pretty far today), yet the figurines display a basic human connection. Perhaps they held similar significance (or lack of it). Perhaps they were of spiritual significance, or toys, or both or in between…

At the exhibition, you are given your own recently-made figure (made by my friend's friend) to hold and tour the exhibition with – to keep, leave or break at the end. I would like to see this, but the brochure will do for now.

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