237.130_A2_Wk2_Task3_Essay Topic Research


Red Hand & Mammoth,                         Red pigment, Hand 15cm, Recess of the bears, Aurignacian

What is in this image?

In this small detail of a cave wall, is the stencil of a human hand prepositioned on a primitive recognition of a mammoth.  The red pigment bleeds the form of the right hand which belonged to an anonymous member of human ancestry.  Just as the pigment bleeds into the hand, the red medium similarly fades away in a small halo around the hand. The heaviest points of pigment application are closest to the hand, the creation of shape, of the fingers, being most important. The red hand, or rather the negative area of the hand and the red halo that surrounds it, is mesmerizing in it’s diminishings of time and space. One can hold out their own hand and recognize the  shape on the wall. As though instinctive, you are able to know the hand is a result of stencil, the grafitti and kindergarten technique of out own decade. There is some strange linking force the symbol of this hand has between where we stand and where we began. The Red hand component is a powerful example of the language of symbols that speaks through the hand. The hand signifies : connection, power, authority, action, purpose. These qualities are applied by the eye as the prehistoric image under goes our question and analysis.

The platform of this image is the cave wall. Just as modern visual technologies present themselves on screens, gallery walls, cinema screens, 2d photograph surfaces etc. Humans find flat surfaces and create dimensions through meanings. Although this surface is the only place Red hand and Mammoth exists, the wall is as much part of the image as the painting itself as it offers insight to the position of it’s creator.


In connection to my essay question:

At the moment, my ideas direct themselves towards the why humans have communicated visually, what is suggested by the technologies used by a certain person, with great focus on the way humans connect themselves through visual texts. The last idea is conflicting as I wish to question the way we can feel connected to others in these alternative realities, by pigments and colors, by the idea of the technologies used to produce things, by what others imagine the future to be and being able to experience something that is not yet a tangibly physical concept.

Red hand and Mammoth is the oldest visual text I’ve complied. I wanted to see if I could translate a similar connection to say an Andy Warhol portrait produced 50 years ago to something with a creation date so old it is unknown. The essay question asked for what the technologies helped the producers reflect about the wider world, yet it is the way a person calls for a connection to those who share the world with them (or who shall), that seems to link all visual history.



Image source:

“Red Hand & Mammoth – The Cave Art Paintings of the Chauvet Cave.”Bradshaw Foundation. Web. 17 Apr. 2016.


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