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How Art Began with Antony Gormley
Thursday 24 January 2019

How Art Began with Antony Gormley, Saturday 26th January 21:00 BBC TWO. For those who can watch, this is highly recommended.

The rotating polished steel cylinder by Mirosław Bałka at Muzeum Susch Switzerland
The artist (top left) in France. Image: BBC. The Angel of the North (bottom left) by Antony Gormley. Image: Getty Images Event Horizon (top right) by Antony Gormley in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Image: AFP/Getty

Why do humans make art? When did we begin to make our mark on the world? And where? In this film, Britain's most celebrated sculptor Antony Gormley is setting out on a journey to see for himself the very beginnings of art.

Once we believed that art began with the cave paintings of Ice Age Europe, tens of thousands of years ago. But now, extraordinary new discoveries around the world are overturning that idea.

Antony is going to travel across the globe, and thousands of years back in time, to piece together a new story of how art began. He discovers beautiful, haunting and surprising works of art, deep inside caves across France, Spain and Indonesia, and in Australian rock shelters. He finds images created by hunter-gatherers that surprise him with their tenderness, and affinity with the natural world. He discovers the secrets behind the techniques used by our ancestors to create these paintings. And he meets experts making discoveries that are turning the clock back on when art first began.

Finally Antony asks what these images from millennia ago can tell us - about who we are. As he says, "If we can look closely at the art of our ancestors, perhaps we will be able to reconnect with something vital that we have lost."

In a recent article by Richard Morrison in The Times, Antony Gormley explains that "Art is being ignored and that's a tragedy and a travesty."

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For the first and (he says) last time, Sir Antony Gormley has turned TV presenter. Britain's foremost sculptor, now 68, has no illusions about the result: a 75-minute BBC Two film called 'How Art Began'. "I'm not Simon Schama or Kenneth Clark, telling you everything you need to know about something and what you should think about it," he says. "I am just going down some holes and the camera is there filming my reactions to what I see."

Gormley explores this ancient art on a global scale. He visits the dancing figures of the Gwion Gwion paintings in the Kimberley region of north-western Australia, believed to be more than 22,000 years old. He then considers the recent discovery of a 5 ft. long ochre depiction of a bull in the Lubang Jeriji Saleh cave of Indonesian Borneo has been dated as being between 40,000 and 52,000 years old.

What do such ancient paintings tell us about early humans? "They tell us that art - the idea of expressing things that were part of, but went beyond, everyday reality - came right at the beginning of humanity's existence, perhaps around the same time as we learnt how to cook and speak, and that it was a completely natural activity," Gormley says. "Look at the cave paintings. You realise that art was essential, universal, a part of human life from the start. And that's a message that needs to be shouted from the rooftops."

"When the artists in the caves so obviously acknowledge humanity's dependency on other life forms, they are sending a vital message to today in a way they could never have realised."

Read more:
https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0c1ngds

Bradshaw Foundation:
http://www.bradshawfoundation.com/

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CAVE PAINTINGS
Earliest known cave art in Indonesia
by Bradshaw Foundation
Thursday 12 December 2019
Cave art & the origin of language
by Bradshaw Foundation
Wednesday 04 December 2019
Louvre exhibition with roots in cave art
by Bradshaw Foundation
Tuesday 03 December 2019
Aboriginal rock art site reclaimed
by Bradshaw Foundation
Monday 25 November 2019
Dating questions challenge Neandertal cave art
by Bradshaw Foundation
Friday 01 November 2019
Rock Art Network Colloquium 3
by Bradshaw Foundation
Tuesday 29 October 2019
Resilience of Australian rock art paint
by Bradshaw Foundation
Monday 07 October 2019
New publication by Derek Hodgson
by Bradshaw Foundation
Tuesday 03 September 2019
Charcoal drawings discovered near Brno
by Bradshaw Foundation
Monday 01 July 2019
Aurignacian dots of Chauvet
by Bradshaw Foundation
Tuesday 21 May 2019
Understanding the Great Murals of Baja California
by Bradshaw Foundation
Tuesday 14 May 2019
Discovery of figurative rock art in the Balkans
by Bradshaw Foundation
Thursday 11 April 2019
New hand prints found in Altamira
by Bradshaw Foundation
Friday 08 February 2019
Art in caves
by Bradshaw Foundation
Tuesday 29 January 2019
How Art Began with Antony Gormley
by Bradshaw Foundation
Thursday 24 January 2019
Christmas at the Cave of Pont d'Arc
by Bradshaw Foundation
Monday 10 December 2018
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