Oct 27, 2016

The Dolmen Site of Antequera

Conjunto Arqueológico de los Dólmenes de Antequera

Intuition and intent in the picture of Javier Pérez González.

Javier Pérez González
The artistic eye of Javier Perez helps us reflect upon our heritage and past. His photography creates a dialogue between megalithic architecture and the natural environment that is clearly observed through an interaction of the three cultural monuments, Menga, Viera and El Romeral, with the natural areas of La Peña and El Torcal. These monuments have enabled the Malaga-born photographer to create his own visual discourse: a bold and passionate artistic proposal and product of many hours of observation and research, which generously provides us with an invaluable testimony to a unique archaeological site.

The photography that lends its imagery to the exhibition appropriately synthesizes the attitude and interests of the artist: within an isotropic area in the half-light (presented on a horizontal plane and a central perspective). The spacial continuity is interrupted (by the presence, in the form of a centered, frontal, vertical pilar, against a backlight that provides an immense shelter) and the symmetry (with a flat line of light emitted from an escape point and shed upon an earthy surface of the stone blocks in the summer solstice). It allows us to contemplate the mystery that underlies spacial order (static and heavy megalith) and time (dynamicity and fluidity of light).

Full moon over Menga

Javier Perez Gonzalez's contribution to the imagery of the Dolmens of Antequera was born out of intuition and intention. That is to say, intuition, being understood as "an intimate and immediate perception of an idea that becomes evident to those who possess it", led him unawares towards the same frameworks that have historically been reiterated in the engravings and photographs of Menga, Viera and El Romeral...

...While at the same time being allowed to discern other parallel interaction phenomena with the moon and the stars, no less real and no less worthy of explanation.

In turn, intention, understood as the "determination of the will in order to obtain a goal" has meant he has had to confront the technical problem of capturing the sun's movement in small spaces within a strong contrasting light; as well as to acquire an interesting imagery, by creating a new iconography, in which the Dolmens dialogue with natural elements, such as La Peña de los Enamorados and El Torcal.

Sunrise at El Campo de los Tumulos

The author mediates between an artistic and scientific stand point when planning shots so as to make us aware of what was not clearly evident...

Dusk from the Sierra de Arcas

... or he is proposing new frames that suggest further work for upgrading the compositions of historical engravings of the Dolmens of Antequera, while creating a new imaginary for the 21st century.

Aurora on the plains

In these images of great beauty, rigor is not incompatible with lyricism. An absolute mastery of digital photographic technique allows him to capture unfiltered color that invades the whole range of the picture. Menga radiates ochres, the aurora is pink, sunrise is red, the mountains turn in at night in gray, while dark night turns blue. All images are frontal on different planes, as if they were to reveal a scene.

Full moon on the plains

The artistic sensitivity of the author helps you assimilate the character of a place and know where to direct your gaze. At the same time, his flawless photographic technique provides him with the resources to confront the question of how to go about doing it.

On the road to La Peña de los Enamorados

Intuitively, Javier performs variations on the theme with the intention of verifying alignment of the central axis of the Menga corridor with la Peña de los Enamorados. He succeeds from the opposite side of the corredor, so that now we are the ones who can contemplate this unique phenomenon of monumentalizing the megalithic landscape.

Pinturas del abrigo de Matacabras

All such considerations become interwoven in the representation of archaeology. The close relationship between photography and archaeology become evident, with the two disciplines joining forces to show, in a different light, how permanent and temporary our heritage really is.

If the concept of heritage arises from a sense of loss and the need to conserve determined material remains, photography allows us to keep archaeology, such a fragile asset, in our memories, just in case it ceases to exist...

We are therefore contemplating an exhibition, that may be labelled as art, archaeology, landscape or philosophy....

Sunset at the 'Campo de los Túmulos' in Viera and Menga

The Dolmens of Antequera, as depicted by Javier Pérez González, lead us to imagine new 'invisible cities' in which memories, desires, signs, heaven, names, the dead, our gaze and exchanges live side by side... Thus representing the best invitation to this contemporary itinerary of these memorable places.

At the umbral de Viera

The dolmen of Viera is a prototype of a passage grave, associated with Atlantic tradition, and built using large upright (megaliths) and horizontal (blankets) stones, aligned with the sunrise on the equinoxes, ie, towards the east.

The Necropolis of Antequera

Between heaven and earth existed the first form of habitation, which may have been the Menga cave.
The central perspective is of the axis of a corridor that has a single vanishing point on a horizon line that shows its relationship with a more distant point. In turn, heavy gray clouds suggest a vast supported shelter, despite the force of gravity, giving a sense of mere descending lines.

Waning moon on the Cerro del Marimacho

For the author, photography is, above all, a medium of artistic expression, in which the eye accomplishes as much or even more than the camera.

It reveals that which is not evident, without having any interest in showing artefacts, planning the place or the moment for getting the best shot....

... it focuses our attention on the object from the beginning.

Dawn of the autumn equinox in Viera I

In the spring and fall equinoxes, the sun rises exactly in the east. The Viera dolmen corridor is orientated precisely in that direction.

Dawn of the autumn equinox in Viera II

The secret of their alignment is revealed in the interior at sunrise during spring and fall equinoxes.

Human determination has resulted in the marking in stone of the extremes of the sun's trajectory between summer and winter solstices, thus revealing the four seasons.

There are only two occasions per year during which the moment may be captured, and the time frame available is not long enough to carry out the tests required to take such a complex photograph, from perhaps a more technical point of view.

Dawn of the autumn equinox in Viera II

The author manages to obtain a sequence of unprecedented images of the phenomenon, with the sun rising on the horizon and moving along the corridor of the dolmen. A ray of light breaks over the threshold of the perforated door separating it from the camera and the light projection is perfectly centered at the top of it.

El túmulo de El Romeral

El Romeral requires a more graphic description as a cultural asset, given that its beehive typology is spatially more complex...

La Clave

... A corridor of masonry walls with a lintel roof and two circular chambers with approaching rows, where a large stone slab serves as an essential component of a false dome.

Solar projection on winter solstice

The author invites us to witness a startling atmosphere that allows us to escape from the time and place in which we find ourselves.

El corredor de El Romeral

However, to reach this state of maximum abstraction we have journeyed on foot, as naturally as possible, a whole area in which it is not difficult to imagine the artist immersed in an inner journey waiting to reach the desired location at the scheduled time.

Midday winter solstice in El Romeral

... And, once again, the image of most poetic intensity is the direct incursion of the sun over the last chamber, at about noon on the winter solstice, when the sun is aligned at its lowest height running along the 34 metre corridor that separates the chamber from the exterior.

On the road to El Torcal

The same language of layers and overlayers is also present at El Torcal, a formation of sedimentary rocks to which the gaze is directed from the corridor.

Laguna de Herrera, Antquera and El Torcal

And, of course, take a look at La Peña de los Enamorados, a landmark of the landscape of Antequera.

In turn, La Peña is a contour that unfolds from Antequera and Sierra de Arcas, at dawn and dusk, with the morning mist or brightness of the full moon.

In the visual relationship between the two mediate other intermediate elements like a plain of almond trees, the lagoon water emanating from the mountain and the city itself.

The scale of the landscape

The author, from an artistic point of view, not only freely provides responses to these prehistoric phenomena of 'the materialization of existential space of man' but, like all committed artist, formulates open questions too.

Camorro de las Siete Mesas

In addition to the unquestionable beauty of this region, its various locations are enormously interesting. The Camorro de las Siete Mesas is one such location, given that it is the point of intersection with the axis of the corridor...

The surroundings of the Cueva de El Toro

... La Cueva de El Toro is similarly an important location where the so-called Venus of El Torcal was discovered, a miniature shell that echoes the compositional theme of el Tornillo.

Natural monument of El Tornillo, served as inspiration for the mixtilineal profile of the Venus of El Torcal.

Conjunto Arqueológico Dólmenes de Antequera
Credits: Story

The Dolmen Site of Antequera

Organised by:
Conjunto Arqueológico Dólmenes de Antequera
Consejería de Cultura de la Junta de Andalucía

Curated by: Aurora Villalobos Gómez
Texts: Aurora Villalobos Gómez
Photography: Javier Pérez González
Digital Edition: Miguel Ángel Checa Torres

Conjunto Arqueológico Dólmenes de Antequera.

Resources:

- Wellrounded360º
- Javier Pérez González
- Sitio de los dólmenes de Antequera : intuición e intención en la obra de Javier Pérez González

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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