There is something magical about pre-historic sites. Perhaps it is the mystery behind these enigmatic locales, the collapsing of time one feels while visiting, or the atmospheric settings themselves. But something exciting and indefinable happens when you step into these time capsules, especially when you are all alone.
There is no need to visit Stonehenge among a hoard of other tourists, or view the Nasca lines from a roaring aircraft. Just go to a Viking-age burial ground.
A favorite among my subjects, these sites are great for shooting with a large format camera. It is as though the grass and stones are simply waiting there for me. They are one of the most patient subjects on earth.
However I cannot help but consider my photographs as merely documentation of already existing artwork. Though these sites had a practical function, there was an art to sending off the dead. The Vikings practiced a variety of burial customs: burial mounds, ship burials, rock mounds, cremation rings, and standing or rune stones to commemorate those lost at sea.
It is no wonder that prehistoric art has inspired many contemporary sculptors and land artists. Nevertheless, what does it mean to resurrect these monuments within a contemporary framework? I hope to delve into this question while reading Lucy Lippard’s book Overlay: Contemporary art and the Art of Prehistory. More on this at a later time.