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Antony Gormley: How Art Began

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Why do humans make art? When did we begin to make our mark on the world? And where?

In this landmark film, Britain’s most celebrated sculptor, Antony Gormley, sets off on a very personal journey – to see for himself the very beginnings of art.

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

In the film, Antony travels across the globe, and thousands of years back in time, trying 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 learns for himself 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 he 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.”