Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Eat Like A Caveman

Paul Gauguin, Two Tahitian Women, 1899, detail.
When Paul Gauguin wanted to get away from the ills of modern life in the 1890s -- get away from the economic crash that had ruined him as a stockbroker, get away from the hectic life of the city, get away from his wife and kids and all the responsibility and drudgery and regularity that they represented, get away from a world of manners and mores that chafed his more-than-healthy ego and fueled his messiah complex -- he went as far as he could. He traveled a long distance geographically, yes -- to Tahiti, a French colony at the time, the other side of the world, quite literally -- but he traveled even further in time. He traveled to a place where he thought he could find a primitive way of life: a way of life caught in a distant past -- even a paleolithic past. The remnants of the Stone Age, millions of years after the fact. An original and natural and honest and unvarnished and savage and pure way of life, one ruled by instincts and drives rather than social pieties and hypocrisies. One that had not yet been ruined by corsets and money and art schools. To him, that's what Tahiti represented.