Through Quentin Marais
updated 10 Oct 21 at 18:59
Make the facsimile of the Cosquer cave of Marseille (Bouches-du-Rhône), this is the mission that was entrusted to a team of archaeologists and visual artists from Union (Haute-Garonne), at the gates of Toulouse. After one year of work started in mid-fall 2020, the group is fine-tuning the latest finishes.
From Chauvet to Cosquer
Bernard Toffoletti, technical director at Déco Diffusion, and Gilles Tosello, archaeologist and plastic artist, are teaming up again. A few years ago, they had been called upon to manage to reproduce the Chauvet cave, in Ardèche. The voices embarked, since the end of October 2020, in a new project: the Cosquer cave.
Located in Marseille, it is 37 meters below sea level. She is over 30,000 years old, but she is bound to collapse and disappear. The only one chosen which would remain, it would be the 3D on the computer, or to make a facsimile ”, indicated Bernard Toffoletti.
The PACA region therefore called a call for tenders in order to launch the second opportunity, and chose the team that had already worked on Chauvet. “The milling, the mold and all the shells are made in Montignac, Dordogne. We are remaking the same team as for Chauvet ”, continues the technical director of Déco Diffusion.
“The Chauvet and Lascaux caves are exceptional. They were the work of true geniuses, visionaries for their time, each in their own style, but who generated spectacular compositions. At Cosquer, we are much more in a context small sets hidden from view. And we are a little embarrassed to assess the whole, because we are missing a good part of the cave which is underwater today … “
Stalactites, engravings, animals …
It is therefore in a workshop of the company Déco Diffusion, at the Union, that the work is carried out. Entering the room, on the left, is one of the most imposing rooms. Bernard Toffoletti describes it. ” On the call ‘Les Mains Rouges’. You have hands that are scratched, erased. This is the last big sign. ”
“On this one, there are animals upside down and upside down,” continues the technical director of Déco Diffusion, pointing to the panel that faces the most imposing one. Why ? Because it’s in the ceiling. It feels weird, but that’s what you see small fistulas. “ On other panels, he shows “an engraved horse” and “stalactites which are horizontal”.
Each work is shown, described, decorated with an intact passion. Three of them will be brought to Marseille during the week of October 11, including the famous ” Cosquer penguins panel. It is the first time that in Paleolithic cave art, penguins have been drawn ”.
“The drawing of these penguins is one of the reasons people said the cave was fake. But the first period of drawing on Cosquer is between 20-22 and 30-32,000 before now. C was the ice age. The sea was 120 meters below current level and the sea was 5-6km from Marseille. That’s why it was an ice age, and we have penguins and seals… “
“It is above all a team effort”
Bernard Toffoletti finally enters a small room, in which is the last artwork who will go to the Phocaean city. “This panel is special because there is a tangle of figures. There is a half carved, half drawn animal. Another with two horns, the muzzle, the back line, and then geometric signs ”.
It is in this same room that it all begins. “There is a first step where we start to make cracks. Then, on the project of 3d images on 3D. The third step is the tinting, and the last is that of paintings or engravings ”.
Behind him is David Sartre Doublet. Also present in the Chauvet mission, he takes care of all the geological aspect. I integrate the drawings on the wall. To give the illusion that it’s real, it is absolutely necessary to reproduce the rock, as faithfully as possible, ”he announces.
“Once we receive the hulls that come from Dordogne, we do a texturing using the photos we have, to reproduce the aspect of the rock. Then, we do a tinting. We are obliged to reproduce the granulometry of the rock. We cannot just paint, otherwise it will be trompe l’oeil and it would not work… “
” It’s teamwork. »A phrase pronounced over and over again, and repeated by Lorena Acin, it is also present in the project. A window separates her from David. Equipped with a computer, she “begins to roughly model the entire wall. to make it look like a rock. Then we do a much finer job to refine the cracks ”.
June 2022 target
Gradually, the other panels will also take the direction of Provence. “The very last ones that I will send, it’s those who are in Dordogne, because it depends on the progress of the cave in the Villa Méditerranée in Marseille ”, continues Bernard Toffoletti.
“We do not put them at random: they have to assemble the structures and that I come and put the panels inside depending on the progress of the cave. The opening to the public is scheduled for June 2022. Because behind us there are all the sculpted mortar fittings, the paints on the mortar, the lighting, etc… We are not the last to go! “
If Bernard Toffoletti and Gilles Tosello have to retain a particularity on this project, it is that of reproducing a cave in which they could not go. ” It is obvious that it is problematic for us, ”admits the first. “What we need are lights on all sides so that we understand all the geology.”
” It’s a difficulty ”, engage the second. “We are in a fairly new scenario, namely that we must reproduce an object that we cannot see, even if the experience acquired allows us to compensate in big party ”.
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