The Centre Pompidou is staging an original exhibition presenting the ties uniting prehistory with modern and contemporary art. The exhibition demonstrates how, in the great period of crisis called "modernity", first artists, then society as a whole, felt drawn to their "origins" and how a fantasy vision was built up of "what preceded History". It reveals that someof the most important artists of the 20th and 21st century were haunted by the question of "prehistory":Picasso, Miró but also Cézanne, Klee, Giacometti, Ernst, Beuys, Klein, Dubuffet, Louise Bourgeois, Marguerite Duras, Robert Smithson, and, among our contemporaries, Giuseppe Penone, Miquel Barceló, Wim Wenders, Marguerite Humeau, Pierre Huyghe, Dove Allouche, and others. At the same time, the exhibition presents many documents showing that, for us, "prehistory" functions as a time machine. The forces at play here draw their fecundity from their very contradictions: the need to deconstruct and the need to build new foundations; the emergence from history and the immersion in history; the desire for revolution and fear of the apocalypse.