About This Exhibition:

I took these photos c. 1980 while exploring the Carnac region of northwestern France.
There is a truly phenomenal wealth of megalithic structures in the area, and as of the time of my visit, only one inventory had been attempted, at the close of the 19th century, by a motivated individual.

One large site on the Isle of Gavrinis, a two stepped pyramid with a large carved chamber below, was thought to date from 4,500 B.C. Excavations were in progress. On the mainland opposite the island lies the largest menhir in the world, fallen and broken in four, in 10 a.d.

Carnac: eleven rows of standing stones stretching for 12 kilometers. Date and origin, unknown. And for scores of miles in all directions, scattered throughout the forests, in the fields, in the midst of human settlement, the dolmens, menhirs, circles, and alignments of an unknown age before history.

Here and there, inside a dolmen, a carving on a wall stone. A torso or womb shape? Some emblematic, some, like the walls of Gavrinis, shamanic, and some like the first glimmer of pictographic writing.

Carnac: In Egypt there is a Karnak too, the 'temple of the sun'. In India, there is Koranak, a temple of the sun, home of the universal calendrical stone featured on the old Indian 10 rupee note. And I remember that the spaceship in Gurdjieff's enigmatic "Beelzebub's Tales To His Grandson" was also named Karnak. Local mythologies surrounding the stones abound. These are said to walk to the water sometimes, those to move or dance under the moonlight. They are almost always associated with fertility and enchantment.

I felt a certain kind of spell over the whole area, hard to pin down,
maybe like an echo remaining from a time we have no 'memory' of.
Here also is the forêt de Broceliande, where Merlin lived and was captured by Morgana;
here is the lake of the sword, Lancelot, and the Quest for the Grail. (In the French version!)

Stephen Miller

Notes:

1. At the time these photos were taken, the best guide to sites in the area was titled "Guide de La Bretagne Mysterieuse", one of a series of "Guides Noirs" published by Editions Tchou Princesse in Paris.

2. In the section called "Markings", there are pictures of several stones with major inscriptions; the meaning of these is utterly unknown. The most extraordinary markings are those which cover all the internal stones of the Gavrinis temple. These are unlike the others, powerful, extensive, and psychedelic in appearance. Alas, at some point in the last 17 years, the images I shot of these stones were separated from the rest of the negatives, and haven't shown up yet. I do hope they will eventually join the show. (Many more pictures of markings in the Carnac area, along with some from Gavrinis, can be seen at Vicki Sherwood's site, listed below.)

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