Depiction, existing, depiction, existing

Inspired by... The Chauvet Cave

In Inspired by... a talented young photographer highlights an image that has inspired them throughout their career. This week, Sofia Borges invites us into the Chauvet Cave, where drawings from the Paleolithic era helped her figure out something she had been trying to solve for a long time. 


The entrance of the Chauvet Cave replica, 2015 © Sofia Borges

When invited to write this article I immediately thought about choosing Cy Tombly or Kandinsky or El Greco. With my decision still to be made I decided to go see surrealist paintings, there was something I needed to find that I trusted to be hidden inbetween all that.

But just before arriving at the museum suddenly an image appeared in my mind. Something I had seen only the reproduction of, on the walls of the full-size replica of Chauvet Cave. The complexity of the 36.000-year-old immense drawings following this one along this cave is just impossible to put into words. But it was looking at this one, the hand prints at the very the entrance of the cave, that got my eyes to fill with tears and finally realised one thing I was trying to solve for many years: my problem was their problem.

The problem of reality, of meaning, of seeing - there was no solution, only a never-ceasing incognit. Science, religion, philosophy, art: we compare, we believe, we think, we recreate. By looking at those drawings I understood that we cannot understand reality, but we have been trying since ever.

Depiction, existing, depiction, existing. Images are images are images are images. All that exists is a negative. A thing is surreal, bireal, unreal. It's all covered. Time is the only pure matter, and it melts over all that exists. Everything else is invisible. There is no bound. We cannot fully comprehend things, much less can we explain or translate things in other things such as to words, images, sounds and objects. This impossible of understanding: language is the base of Tragedy. The horses of Velásquez: they shine.

About Sofia Borges

Sofia Borges (Brazil, b. 1984) is a visual artist who received her BA in Visual Arts from the Universidade de São Paulo in 2008. Since then, she has received a numer of prizes and acclaims both in- and outside Brazil and has presented solo shows internationally in Mexico, Spain, France and Portugal. Her work has been shown in the UK, the USA, France, Brazil, Qatar and China. Her autoral project The Swamp won the Mack First Book Award. She's currently living between Paris and São Paulo.

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