Thoughts & Insights

The Discovery of a Hidden Treasure

Direct access to art is found in emotion. “With all the intellectual considerations that may be behind it, ultimately the emotion is crucial.” (OUBEY).

If the quality of an artwork is experienced and enjoyed through the freedom of emotion, the distance between the artist and the outside world can be reduced for this moment to a smallest common denominator. It is amazing that this can work even across huge distances of time, yet it is possible.

Cave drawings over 30,000 years old were discovered not long ago in Chauvet, southern France, which Werner Herzog has generously made accessible to us in his most recent documentary film “Cave of Forgotten Dreams”. Despite the vast distance of time between us and the moment of their creation, looking at these drawings evokes an exciting experience of closeness. It is like crossing a mental hanging bridge at a dizzying height above a deep abyss of time. It is as though the boundaries of time were suspended for the moment of this view.


These prehistoric cave drawings stand for themselves. In this, they are similar to OUBEYs art, and they also have very particular affinity to it in another aspect: they are hidden treasures that have remained untouched and unseen for a certain period of time. Their hidden existence has given them a freedom that is hardly to be found anywhere else today. This freedom inheres to them and transfers itself to us when we look at them. We can discover, enjoy and let them affect us in rare pure immediacy.