Campus for Design and Art, Gemstones and Jewellery

Photography workshop with Peter Piller

Cave art and contemporary photography

Is cave art relevant to current artistic practice?

Peter Piller, award-winning photographer and professor of fine arts at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf shared his enthusiasm for the oldest preserved artworks of mankind with the students in the Master of Fine Arts Gemstones and Jewellery in a three-day workshop. The workshop began with a visit to the Frobenius Institute in Frankfurt am Main, where handmade paintings of cave paintings by artists could be viewed. It became apparent that painting and drawing offer completely different possibilities for documenting the cave art and developing an approach to them as compared to photography.

The next day, Piller gave a lecture on Stone Age art. It became clear how great the relevance of these works and their understanding is to our times. The works show great artistry, dynamic lines describe the shapes of animals, elements of the rock face are integrated into compositions. Piller suggested to visualise the process of creation, the dark cave, dim light of a flame, slow emergence of the drawings. Handprints survived time, created all over the world with the same spitting technique. The need to express oneself through art is omnipresent.

A walking exercise by Hamish Fulton was intended to help the students become more aware of their surroundings. Walking in a circle as slowly as possible will help them to become aware of any changes after each step.

Before the workshop began, the students were asked to think intensively about their perception of the things around them and to try to develop a new, unfamiliar view of their surroundings. These photographs were finally discussed in the group in the context of the new insights and experiences.


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