The International Federation of Rock Art Organisations (IFRAO) met for their 20th conference at the Centro Camuno di Studi Preistorici located in Baorio, Valcomonica, Italy, 29 Aug – 2 Sep 2018. The valley has one of the largest concentrations of rock art in Europe and is listed by UNESCO. Dr. Robert J. Wallis delivered a paper at the conference in a session on ‘Modern (re)Uses of Rock Art: Art, Identity and Visual Culture’. He examined the exhibition dubbed ‘Lascaux III’, which toured Europe, North America and Asia, representing reproductions of the art from the world-famous cave of Lascaux in the Dordogne.
Wallis’ paper, ‘Reproduction, Simulation and the Hyperreal: A case study of “Lascaux III” 2015-2017’ considered the importance of the ‘stone veil’ reproductions in showing the relationship between the image and natural features of the cave wall used by the artists. Wallis also engaged critically with the tension between ‘authenticity’ and ‘reproduction’ in the exhibition, drawing on Baudrillard’s concepts of simulation and the hyperreal – the reproduction coming to stand in the for the original as ‘more real than real’. The paper resulted in a lively discussion between Wallis and Dr. Jean Clottes, the prominent French prehistorian who was on the Scientific Committee for Lascaux III.
Wallis has published a review of Lascaux III in ‘Time and Mind: The Journal of Archaeology, Consciousness and Culture’. His paper built on his earlier research on the representation of archaeology, such as artist Jeremy Deller’s huge inflatable Stonehenge entitled ‘Sacrilege’ (published in ‘World Art’ journal).
Dr. Robert J. Wallis is Professor of Visual Culture, Associate Dean and Convenor of the MA in Art History and Visual Culture in the School of CASS, and leads the Centre for International Visual Arts and Cultures (IVAC), at Richmond University.