Savitri Era of those who adore, Om Sri Aurobindo and The Mother.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

If there has to be a future art

Re: Physicists Refute Fractal Analysis Of Jackson Pollock's Paintings
by RY Deshpande on Wed 27 Dec 2006 02:14 AM PST Profile Permanent Link
From a professional point of view what you are saying might be impeccable and perfectly satisfying. But I wish to look at things from an Aurobindonian point of view, the authentic spirit of aesthesis speaking about these matters in the possibilities of expression which is an aspect of progress and manifestation. If there has to be a future art, where would this fit in? Please opine. RYD

Decentered patterns which express the dialectic between order and chaos

Re: Physicists Refute Fractal Analysis Of Jackson Pollock's Paintings
by Debashish on Tue 26 Dec 2006 10:41 PM PST Profile Permanent Link
Pollock's drip paintings have their precursor in 15th c. Japanese Muromachi "splashed-ink" paintings or even earlier 8th c. Chinese Tang dynasty drip creamics, a nodal point in the socialization of the art of accident or the accident of art. I find Pollock's paintings beautifully textured, layered if decentered patterns which express the dialectic between order and chaos. The process of their creation is a closeness to universal creative processes. In this lies their profundity and "message of their time" (as RC has accurately described) to me.
Japanese Zen and Zen-influenced painting also aimed at this closeness or identification in a variety of ways. That he was an alcoholic makes little difference here since several of the best Zen painters of Japan also often created under states of heavy sake inebriation - eg. Uragami Gyokudo or in modern times, Munakata Shiko, both of whom imho stand out as giants in the art legacy of the world. DB

See the reality of the abstract behind the abstraction

Re: Physicists Refute Fractal Analysis Of Jackson Pollock's Paintings
by Rich on Mon 25 Dec 2006 10:18 AM PST Profile Permanent Link
Did Pollock succeed? Well as one of the pioneers of abstract expressionism he certainly did. In my opinion some of his canvases express the subtle worlds behind our own, but some of them also just express the chaotic state of his wanderings through the intermediate zone. Does his canvases succeed in expressing a certain subtle truth of the time period he inhabited (which in some ways invoked the intermediate zone). Well I think for the most part they do.
While I certainly agree with Sri Aurobindo's that the highest expression of art is to reveal spiritual truth. I also do not think that we can use that as the sole criteria for pronouncing judgment on a work of art. ( and I have also had this conversation with my brother a staunch catholic) Artistic expression may also express the soul of a certain time period (as I think Pollacks does) it may be offered in a form of social critique, irony, satire, to awaken the viewer to certain social truth or it may simply express ones own creative response to ones own particular experience of being in the world. Now to the extent ones creative response can be universalized to awaken in the observer a sense of recognition and allows them to also internalize the experience the artist intends maybe used as one of the criteria for the success of the work.
I also agree with Sri Aurobindo's comments on Theosophy however I think that two artist who were influenced in part by Theosophy were among the most successful of European painters of the 20th century to express if not always spiritual truth then certainly a vision of the loftier planes of being. One of these artist is Paul Klee and one is Wassily Kandinsky.
The interesting thing I find in non-representational art (e..g. abstract) is that it appears on the scene about the same time when the arrival of photographic and cinematic images begin to saturate human consciousness with an endless array of images which mirror and reproduce the lifeworld we inhabit. Although this trend begins with the Impressionist in the last half of the 19th century. Its almost as if at the advent of the 20th century when new technologies emerge which can accurately mass produce the images of the world, a new medium of artistic expression (Expressionism) evolved which forced the viewer to contemplate the world hidden behind the one we perceive with the senses. rich
by RY Deshpande on Tue 26 Dec 2006 05:11 AM PST Profile Permanent Link
Rich: While I certainly agree with Sri Aurobindo's that the highest expression of art is to reveal spiritual truth. I also do not think that we can use that as the sole criteria for pronouncing judgment on a work of art.
It is not necessary that revelation by the artist of the spiritual truth alone will make art great. Shakespeare had nothing spiritual in him, neither in his person nor in his wonderful art which was with any number of murders. But what an expression of the spirit of life that his is! Somehow he was able to come in intimate contact with the living beings and forces of the life-world, of a certain type, and speak for them in its own forceful and rushing impetuous language, language so perfect for the occasion, to serve the purpose as if it was designed for it. It became an authentic expression of the joy of the life-spirit itself, in spite of the crudeness of human nature and the “barbarous” strength of his presentation. He could tap that life-energy and create a vibrant world with its own charm and with its own power, casting a strange but desirable spell of aesthetic experience on us. The effect is such that the fearful Lady Macbeth turns into the archetypal and, paradoxically, takes away all the fear that is there in it, all the repulsion our sensibilities are prone to. The highest expression of art can come from any of the sources, mental, vital, physical, psychic, mystical, overhead, spiritual, and ablaze with one or more than one sun of the spirit. When that happens it becomes great.
And let us also note that the reverse is not always true. We may have spiritual contents in a piece of literature or art, but that does not necessarily make it an outstanding art. If we have to give an example it could be of AE and Yeats: one was a great mystic and the other an artistic seer, with the other part remaining behind.
About Shakespeare Sri Aurobindo writes: “…his is not a drama of mere externalised action, for it lives from within and more deeply than our external life. This is not Virat, the seer and creator of gross forms, but Hiranyagarbha, the luminous mind of dreams, looking through those forms to see his own images behind them.” And again: “Whatever Shakespeare may suggest, it is not holding up a mirror to life and Nature, but a moved and excited reception and evocation.” It looks as though the flesh and blood in his characters have such capacity that hey can become real in some other world, achieving another kind of quintessentiality far beyond the power of abstraction.
If there is the soul of abstraction, which ought to be there if it has to have contents and significance for us, then this art must bring it out, its laughter and its weeping, its colours and its musical richnesses, its warmth and repugnance, its reality that is the impersonal behind the personal, form of the wonderful formless. Does that happen? Does the art of Pollock see the images of the one it is imaging? see the reality of the abstract behind the abstraction it is making? RYD

Monday, December 25, 2006

What Champaklal achieved in his boutique paintings

Re: Physicists Refute Fractal Analysis Of Jackson Pollock's Paintings
by RY Deshpande on Sun 24 Dec 2006 08:16 PM PST Profile Permanent Link
Even if you assume these conditions, can you tell anything about the success Pollok achieved through his paintings? Did he succeed in getting or revealing what surrealism was posited for, was attempting to do? Could he deliver a solacing message to the War-torn civilisation, that its wounds could be healed by it? Or it was just a naked show of those ugly things and happenings which kill all our sensibilities? Have the subtle physical realities shone out in his creations in any deeply satisfying manner? If he has an element of mysticism, of whatever kind it be, did he realise that there is something else also than the ideal of rationality in evolution driving it and making it progress? Define a yard-stick and measure him with it. Aesthetic values are always subjective, but there is a universality as well that comes from the regions of this spirit or the soul. How far did the subjective become universal in him? Otherwise the work will greatly lose its significance.

Take the boutique paintings. The colours floating on the surface of water can at times elicit situations when some invisible eye starts seeing the wonders of creation from the depths below. The veil is penetrated and at once shines out the face of the indefinable. From the dark ocean of inconscience, salilam apraketam of the Rig Veda, a new world seems to take birth. This is what at times Champaklal achieved in his boutique paintings.

“Modern Art opines that beauty is functional! that is, whatever serves its function or serves a true purpose is artistic and beautiful—for instance, if a clerk produces a neat copy of an official letter without mistakes, the clerk and his copy are both of them works of art and beautiful!”
This is from Sri Aurobindo writing in 1935. Apropos of surrealism, it acquires meaning and value if it can go deep enough in its dream-experience, almost touching the soul-state, the inner bordering the psychic. If from that state can spring up an artistic expression, it at once becomes convincing and fulfilling. Does it happen in Pollok? He need not have anything spiritual in a direct sense, but the evocations do matter. Should we not assess him for that?

Creativity based on the unconscious process can be dangerous. The danger is of entering into the Dangerous Intermediate Zone so dreaded by the spiritual aspirants. And remember there is always a Mephistopheles waiting there to entice the gullible soul of man. To be a Mystic of the Unconscious can be self-glorifying, the lure of becoming important. But see how disastrous it turns out to be even for the accomplished. I will just quote a passage from Sri Aurobindo vis-à-vis the theosophists.

“From one point of view I cannot find praise warm enough to do justice to the work of Theosophy; from another I cannot find condemnation strong enough to denounce it. It has forced on the notice of an unwilling world truths to which orthodoxy is blind and of which heterodoxy is afraid or incredulous. It has shown a colossal courage in facing ridicule, trampling on prejudice and slander, persisting in faith in spite of disillusionment, scandal and a continual shifting of knowledge. They have kept the flag of a past & future science flying against enormous difficulties. On the other hand by bringing to the investigation of that science—not its discovery, for to the Hindu Yogin it is known already—the traditional European methods, the methods of the market-place and the forum, it has brought on the truths themselves much doubt and discredit, and by importing into them the forms, jugglery and jargon of European mystics, their romanticism, their unbridled imagination, their galloping impatience, their haste, bragging and loudness, their susceptibility to dupery, trickery, obstinate error and greedy self-deception, Theosophists have strengthened doubt and discredit and driven many an earnest seeker to bewilderment, to angry suspicion or to final renunciation of the search for truth. They have scattered the path of the conscientious investigators, the severe scientists of Yoga who must appear in the future, with the thorns and sharp flints of a well-justified incredulity and suspicion. I admit the truths that Theosophy seeks to unveil; but I do not think they can be reached if we fall into bondage even to the most inspiring table talk of Mahatmas or to the confused anathemas and vaticinations hurled from their platform tripods by modern Pythonesses of the type of Mrs Annie Besant, that great, capacious but bewildered and darkened intellect, now stumbling with a loud and confident blindness through those worlds of twilight and glamour, of distorted inspirations, perverted communications and misunderstood or half-understood perceptions which are so painfully familiar to the student and seeker. If these things do not satisfy me, what then do I seek? I seek a light that shall be new, yet old, the oldest indeed of all lights.”

We have to have vibrancy, another vision of things, a gaze looking into the luminous spaces of spiritual calm that alone supports the expression of love and joy and sweetness and and beauty and happiness of form, even its assertive dynamism. That gives a real push to evolution.

O T Ravindran, an Indian painter of plants, once wrote about a cactus. “Plants, especially the natural ones (as opposed to those artificially made) have a vibrancy of their own. They only need our help to bring out the beauty in them. Even the weed growing unnoticed in the thicket is strikingly beautiful. Plant them, sketch them and arrange them and they become pieces of fine art. Art, whatever man may claim it to be, is nothing but his sincere effort to imitate the unattainable perfection that is Nature.” Imitate, ...well! But at least imitate it well!

Ramakrishna Paramahamsa quotes Kabir: The formless Absolute is my Father, and God with form is my Mother. That’s it. RYD

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Form has to express inner beauty and harmony of the thing

Re: Physicists Refute Fractal Analysis Of Jackson Pollock's Paintings
by RY Deshpande on Sun 24 Dec 2006 06:19 AM PST Profile Permanent Link
Scientific fractal or no fractal, I wish to understand, and enjoy, the spirit of beauty in a creative art, of whatever kind that be. Whatever be the technique and whatever the means of execution, form has to express inner beauty and harmony of the thing; it can even attempt the expression of the formless--as we have the infinity of calm on the sculptured statues of Buddha in the Ajanta-Elora caves. Can someone please look into it from that point of view and evaluate Pollock's paintings? Thanks and Merry Christmas to everybody. RYD
by Rich on Sun 24 Dec 2006 03:36 PM PST Profile Permanent Link
Pollock's painting perhaps retains an influence of the automatic writing which inspired early 20th century European surrealist and also perhaps due to the growing popularity of psycho-analysis sought to express the pure spontaneity of the unconscious process underlying creativity. Perhaps one can view in his work the coming into being of certain subtle physical realities or perhaps they just reflect the chaotic state of Pollock's own unconscious influenced by his bouts of manic depression and alcoholism. Of course his work can also be viewed according to the emerging trends in the arts of the time, which were themselves influenced by the devastation of civilization triggered by the World War, which shattered any idea that evolution was progressive and driven by and central organizing ideal of rationality.
His canvas like some modernist literary works or contemporary atonal music of the time lack a defined center or focal point. The entire canvas is both center and periphery. This is an idea which of course has spilled over into the postmodernist worldview. His earlier works however are influenced by American heart land artist Thomas Hart Benton, (an artist I much admire)- and demonstrate that he could also beautifully portray form in a classical sense. also a merry christmas to all, and hope to see everyone in Pondi in Jan. rich

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

I'm an extremely tactile person

LIFE IS THE COLOUR YOU PAINT IT - Daily inspirational paintings by New Zealand artist Sophia Elise This is a new series I have started which is unlike any of my other art. Each day, from December 1st 2006, I will complete a painting with a favourite saying, quote or phrase on it - My thought for the day. Each month will have a different focus or theme.
Sophia Elise, Auckland, NZ : I am a self-taught artist living in Auckland with my partner and four children. I balance our busy home life with working as a nurse, managing the New Zealand Art Guild and painting with any free moment I have. My art can be found in select NZ galleries and has sold internationally. I paint in acrylics, as the quick drying properties suit my abstract minimalist style. I'm an extremely tactile person and incorparate this love of texture in most of my art. I feel the extra dimension this adds enormously satisfying. Drawn from the depths of my emotions and forged by my environment and experiences my uniquely original art is a window into my soul. "If my art can reach into the soul of another and emotionally and spiritually touch that person, then it’s all worthwhile." email: sophia@sophiaelise.co.nz View my complete profile
The words read "Let all circumstances, all happeneings in life, be occassions constantly renewed for learning more and more" - Sri Aurobindo Ashram

Saturday, December 02, 2006

The Mother as an artist

On 13 October 1897, Mirra Alfassa married the artist Henri Morisset. She kept the name Alfassa. Henri Morisset, born in Paris on 6 April 1870, was eight years older than she and already had an established reputation as an artist. He had studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts with Gustave Moreau, the Symbolist painter, who taught Matisse around the same time. Moreau was a liberal teacher who did not impose his own style on his students. Before entering the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in 1889, Morisset had studied for four years at the Ecole Nationale des Arts Decoratifs. There his teachers were Bouguereau and Robert-Fleury, who were also professors at the Academic Julian. Morisset was enrolled at the Academic Julian in 1889, as is shown by a surviving register of male students. It was apparently not uncommon at this time for art students to study simultaneously at the Academic Julian and the Ecole des Beaux-Arts.
We do not know when the Mother met Henri Morisset, but it is likely that she knew him for a few years before their marriage and that he was instrumental in her joining the Academic Julian. She was introduced to him by her grandmother Mira Ismalun, who had long known Henri's father Edouard Morisset, a noted artist. Mira Ismalun (whose portrait in pencil, done by the Mother in 1905, is reproduced on p. 49) lived much of her life in Egypt. There she was employed to supply the wardrobes of the princesses, which she ordered from the best dressmakers in Paris. She also commissioned portraits of the princesses "to be done from photographs by the painters Vienot and Morisset"." This may have been the origin of her acquaintance with Edouard Morisset. In her reminiscences in 1906, Mira Ismalun enumerated her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, ending with her daughter Mathilde and her family:

Finally, Mathilde and her husband Maurice Alfassa, who became a French citizen in 1889, have had, after losing a son Max, two children: Matteo, who entered the colonial service on graduating from the Ecole Polytechnique and married Eva Brosse, and Mirra, who married the well known painter Henri Morisset; I knew his father, and it was I who first took her to their home. They have had a son, André.
André was born on 23 August 1898. Earlier that year, Mirra and Henri had been in Pau, a town in the southwest of France, painting murals in a church.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Auroville, the international village

Wednesday, November 29, 2006 Great feast for your eyes in this new village. I don’t know why but the word ‘Village’ when followed by another word sounds somewhat sophisticated. But almost anyone’s curiosity is kindled when they read ‘Food Village’, ‘Cultural Village’, ‘Art Village’, ‘Handicrafts Village’, and ‘International Village’ and so on.So what one would expect to find in such niche villages is a congregation of that activity or products that is relevant to the word that precedes ‘Village’.
For example, there is a place called ‘Auroville’ near my city Madras in India founded by the Aurobindo ashram. In this international village, citizens of various countries are allowed to settle down. I had to search the internet to meet out my son’s request for some new computer wallpapers; the ever dependable Google directed me promptly to a ‘Wallpaper Village,’ where upon entering, I stopped dead in my tracks. posted by Malathy at 12:53 AM Malathy Badri Location:Coimbatore, Tamilnadu, India

Friday, November 17, 2006

Auroville architect Anupama Kundoo

Editorial: November 2006 Be careful of what you wish for, or you might turn into Wolf Prix: reflections on the 2006 RAIA national conference November 10, 2006. In Apil 2006, architects gathered at Darling Harbour in Sydney for “the future is now!”, the annual RAIA conference. The conference gathered together an interesting mix of speakers as stylistically and philosophically diverse as Carme Pinos, Elke-Delugan-Meissl, Kerry Hill, and Andrew Freear from Rural Studio...
However, despite the optimism and atmosphere of good-will permeating the conference, for me there was a disturbing subtext which seemed to underpin the entire event, and which told a story all the more powerful for not being explicitly articulated. This story is architecture eats its young, or turns them into monsters, and is best exemplified by the presentations of three architects: Anupama Kundoo, Timothy Hill, and the keynote speaker Wolf Prix.
Anupama Kundoo is an Indian architect in her thirties who heads Kolam, an architecture, design and construction unit established under the Auroville Foundation in south east India. In addition to research, design and construction of architectural projects, Kolam also undertakes innovative urban management studies; the architectural education of rural students; experimentation with construction and infrastructure technologies for sustainable development; and hands-on workshops and seminars in schools, institutions and universities.
Anupama’s presentation was a joyful and delightful tale of can-do attitude and problem-solving in challenging situations. She contextualised the problems facing a rapidly developing India – urbanisation, globalisation, sustainability, and concrete – and walked us through projects where locally made clay vessels become ceilings, and buildings are “cooked” to perfection. Her willingness to embrace the constraints of the local – community, technology, materials, skills – and turn them into successful and beautiful buildings was inspirational for those of us who may be frustrated with planning regulations or a slow broadband connection. posted by beatriz maturana @ 8:19 PM...

India— the cradle of world spirituality

My next destination is India— the cradle of world spirituality—where, along with Nepal, I’m expecting to spend the coming six months. On Tuesday evening I’ll get on a plane bound for New Delhi (from Chicago) and get started on Phase II. India is in the throes of globalization and rapid economic development, and the majority of contemporary artworks that are garnering international attention deal with issues more common to the western art world—globalization, national and individual identity vis the media, gender issues, etc. According to many I’ve spoken with, there is a turning away from spiritual art, at the very time that the west is looking more intensively towards the East for spiritual inspiration and insight.
Nonetheless, I expect to find that those who continue to work on spiritual themes, with declared spiritual intent, and in communities of mystic and spiritual practice to have interesting things to say through their artworks. There is also a relatively large community of Western artists treating spiritual themes in their work living in India today, and these too will be an important component of this phase of work.My research on India suggests that the most active areas for contemporary spiritual art—at least that which is known in the West—is concentrated in Benares (aka Varnassi, Hinduism’s holiest city), in West Bengal (Calcutta and Santineketan), and in the area near Chennai (formerly Madras), where the Sri Aurobindo Ashram (Pondicherry), the Auroville community, and the communities near Arunachala/Trivunamali have attracted and launched a number of recognized artists who create works dealing in spiritual themes...
I want to send out thanks to a couple of people who have helped get me prepared for this voyage. First, Debashish Banerji, Ph.D. a Los Angeles-based expert in Indian art expert who curated “Divine Carriers,” the last comprehensive look at Indian contemporary spiritual art in 1996. posted by Phil at 4:25 PM

Contemporary Spiritual Art

The Spiros Project - Exploring the World of Contemporary Spiritual Art by Debashish on Mon 13 Nov 2006 08:31 AM PST Permanent Link Sunday, November 12, 2006 Images from the Spiros Project So Far posted by Phil at 1:20 PM <<> Name:Phil Psilos Location:Roaming, Southeast Asia

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Developing intuitive skills and divergent thinking

K. B. JINAN, Kumbham. Aruvacode Post-graduate Diploma – Product Design, (NID) National Institute of Design, Ahmadabad; 1988 Bachelor in Engineering – Mech. Engg, Maulana Azad College of Technology, Bhopal; 1984
Aim and approach Development of creativity and sensitivity, enabling students to expand their potential and to learn how to learn, through exercises to sensitise their senses, to break habits, using traditional games and using traditional learning methods of the craft communities. Emphasis is on developing intuitive skills and divergent thinking.
1998 Sept onwards Canadian School, Bangalore.
3 days in a month with students of class IV to VII (Students from various parts of the world).
1992 Jan/Feb Aurobindo Integral School, Parlakhemundy
Students 5th and 6th
1991 Sept-Dec Bagusala, Orissa
With village children of Bagusala, Age 4 to 12

Saturday, October 28, 2006

The Jewelled Touch

Olaf Van Cleef’s love affair with India Swapan Mullick The Statesman Saturday, 28 October 2006
Twenty years ago, Olaf began his romance with Kolkata. “Here the people are educated and when they buy jewellery, they buy a style. They pick up a jewel as though it is a piece of art’’, says Olaf. His tryst with painting began when he was inspired by the “vibrant colours, the sounds, the sights, the smells and cultures of India’’ and decided to depict them through intricate designs.
By the time he held his first show in Chennai, it was clear that he was seeing artistry amidst dilapidation and beauty in sorrow. His works demonstrated a surge of freedom coming from within. It was at this time that he also discovered the spiritual qualities of India through the writings of Tagore and Aurobindo that were in his words, a “source of soothing delight to my chaotic and unconventional lifestyle’’.
Olaf’s art is an expression of love and a means of giving back to India what he has experienced with great delight. His January show of Indian images on metallic paper dotted with Swarovsky crystals is appropriately called The Jewelled Touch. It should present a world of mystic delights that has become the primary inspiration of Olaf’s art.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Rays and Neutrons, for Art’s Sake

By WILLIAM J. BROAD NY Times Published: October 24, 2006 VIENNA — Eager for precision in a field notorious for ambiguity and frustration, curators at top museums in Europe and the United States have long reached for the instruments of nuclear science to hit treasures of art with invisible rays. The resulting clues have helped answer vexing questions of provenance, age and authenticity.
A view of the research reactor at the University of Missouri, a center that the Metropolitan Museum of Art has used in its research. Archaeological samples are bombarded with neutrons. The results reveal trace elements, which give new information about old sculptures in the museum’s collection. Metropolitan Museum of Art: Set in Stone Ed Alcock for The New York Times. A proton beam is used to study antique jewelry, top, at a Louvre laboratory, above. Now such insights are going global. The International Atomic Energy Agency, a United Nations unit best known for fighting the spread of nuclear arms, is working hard to foster such methods in the developing world, letting scientists and conservators in places like Peru, Ghana and Kazakhstan act as better custodians of their cultural heritage.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Harmony and rhythm, contrast and theme

07 May 2006 Why is Kathryn Stats so successful as an artist FOR FURTHER INFORMATION ABOUT KATHRYN STATS
Kathryn writes "I think a good painting is like a good musical composition." Kathryn states, "It has harmony and rhythm, contrast and theme, sometimes even soloists. Those elements rarely just occur in a natural landscape. I find that I emphasize with detail and color, omit some things, mute others, even rearrange elements to create a composition that conveys my visual experience, my joy, to the viewer. It is this challenge that keeps me painting."
I think the important issues for us to consider, are Kathryn's strategies to achieve a high quality, marketable product. If you do not have a good product, the best of business plans, alone will not necessarily contribute to business success. What can we understand about Kathryn Stat's SCA (sustainable competetive advantage), based on her paintings? What is that in the eyes of her clients may be unique about all of her paintings. And what are the creative strategies she appears to have adopted to achieve this uniqueness? My own view, based on Kathryn's art and web page information is...posted by Bob Abrahams at 5/07/2006 01:55:00 PM 3 comments

All we’re dealing with is Art History

Framing Art—Fitzwilliam Museum The Art of Art History October 21st, 2006 (5 hours, 8 minutes ago) It occurred to me, driving home from Sainsbury’s with the weekly shop, that it could be said we’re not interested in art per se. All we’re dealing with is Art History, and talking about it as the Art of Art History1. Which strikes me as a paradoxical: we’re learning about these historians and how they viewed the progress of art but not looking at the art itself. Hegel theories get illustrated as an aside with examples of Art, when shouldn’t we look at the art to show how they generate Hegel’s theories? Perhaps the latter is easier, as—although the theories usually originate from artworks—they often become tenuous when applied back onto them. The theories by necessity deal with an ideal that rarely finds adequate expression in the world.
It’s tacitly understood, I think, that they (the tutors) are expecting us to take it to a next stage and apply what we’ve learned to art works and also to recognise these theories in other contexts, see how they’ve progressed and informed other theorists or artists. We are being taught Art History as a strictly historical sequence. Every theorist has their place in the sequence. With writings it’s perhaps much easier to deal with moves towards or away from previous writers. The matter of influence.
However, in the same way that Art History has found it hard to get away from the impression of a progression in art works (à la Hegel, Winckelmann) is it mistaken/distracting to judge Art History itself as progressing? If we are to talk of an “Art of Art History”, if it’s an Art then the same principles and developments that it theorizes can equally be applied back onto it. Indeed, if Art History is to be seen as another branch of Art then will the study of it take Art into new areas which will then become fodder for Art Historians.
Maybe Art History will be the revitalization of Art. Of course, artists themselves have already started questioning art historical institutions. Andrea Fraser, Mark Dion, anyone who has been invited to curate an exhibition of works from an art institution’s collection have all rewritten the histories of these works in relation to each other.
  • Is this different from if an Art Historian were to do something similar?
  • Or would an Art Historian do something else with a similar effect/intention in mind?

I think these days it’s an artificial distinction to make between Artists and Art Historians, the roles are interchangeable. This probably has some effect on the argument itself. 1. Taken from Donald Preziosi ed., The Art of Art History: A Critical Anthology, OUP, Oxford, 1998, but also used to describe the course by the tutor, Astrid Schmetterling. Technorati Tags: , , , , This entry was posted 8 hours, 8 minutes ago on Saturday, October 21st, 2006 at 14:30 and is filed under Art, Writing, CORE course

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Our hands are free and pure, to start everything afresh

NIHILISM The Root of the Revolution of the Modern Age by Eugene (Fr. Seraphim) Rose
Modern art has had a similar appeal, and its similar reaction against lifeless academic "realism" has likewise led into strange fields. New and exotic sources and influences have been found in the art of Africa, the Orient, the South Seas, of prehistoric man, children, and madmen, in spiritism and occultism. Continual "experimentation" has been the rule, a constant search for "new" forms and techniques; inspiration has been found above all in the "savage," the "primitive," and the "spontaneous." Like the Futurists in their manifesto (though Futurism itself can hardly be taken seriously as art), the most typical modern artists have exalted in their works "every kind of originality, boldness, extreme violence," and they have likewise believed that "our hands are free and pure, to start everything afresh."
The artist, according to the Vitalist myth, is a "creator," a "genius," he is "inspired." In his art Realism is transformed by "vision"; it is a sign and a prophecy of a "spiritual awakening." The artist, in short, is a "magician" in his own realm in precisely the same way Hitler was in politics; and in both it is not truth, but subjective feeling, that reigns.
In religion--or, to speak more precisely, pseudo-religion--the restless experimentation characteristic of Vitalism has manifested itself in even more varied forms than it has in the schools of modern art. There are, for example, the sects whose deity is a vague, immanent "force"; these are the varieties of "new thought" and "positive thinking," whose concern is to harness and utilize this "force," as if it were a kind of electricity. Closely related to these are occultism and spiritism, as well as certain spurious forms of "Eastern wisdom," which abandon all pretense of concern with "God" explicitly to invoke more immediate "powers" and "presences."

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Art in Auroville

Current issue Archive copies Auroville Adventure June - July 01 Art in Auroville - by the AVToday editors "It is in the service of spirituality that art reaches its highest expression" (Sri Aurobindo)
Art has played a role in community life from the very beginning. Auroville, for many old timers, was not just a desert to be afforested, but also a play of light and space and austere beauty, a place of magic and creativity, a cradle, in Mother's words, for the creation of a new world. Ever since, many Aurovilians have been inspired to evoke this new world and to explore themselves through the medium of art. Efforts to promote the arts, however, were for a long time retarded by the need to first deal with the rudimentary requirements of subsistence. As late as 1988, Auroville was still regarded by some as a cultural desert.
Auroville has come a long way since. At present, many Aurovilians are involved in one or more art forms. A multitude of expressions in dance, visual arts, poetry, music, theatre, and sculpture, enhanced by the rich interaction of eastern and western cultures, have become a normal part of the daily life. More than sixty Aurovilians are pursuing the arts either on a full-time or part-time basis. Kalamitra (Friends of the Arts) formed by a group of Aurovilians to stimulate cultural life in Auroville by promoting a wide range of events and workshops has brought many top artists over the years to perform in Auroville. More recently there have been two initiatives - Khala Koj and the Visiting Artists Residency project - which aim to bring artists from all over the world to Auroville for brief or extended periods of time and to promote artist exchange programmes. To this purpose Kala Khoj has become affiliate member of the international 'Res Artis' network which is represented in over one hundred and twenty countries .These positive developments notwithstanding, resident artists often complain about the almost complete lack of community support. The Maintenance Fund, struggling as it does to provide a minimum maintenance to those working for community services, has hardly any artists on its maintenance lists. Neither is there a support system to help artists to sell their works.
What, then, attracts many artists to Auroville, or, as is often the case, turns Aurovilians into artists? For the majority, the vision of Sri Aurobindo and Mother is the most powerful inspiration - the vision of a new world based upon a new consciousness. In fact, many Auroville artists view their work of artistic creation as a vehicle of their yoga. Mother spoke of an ideal place where the exigencies of existence would be removed in order to allow the individual the freedom to discover him or herself, and this is another important factor. As one artist puts it, "One of the greatest things that happened to me was finding this place and environment where I can spend time and space to search for the inner self, in my case through the arts." Another attraction is the sheer diversity of cultures and individuals represented here which, through the cross-fertilization of ideas and perspectives, creates a ferment of creativity. And Auroville also offers the possibility of continually reinventing oneself, of taking up new ideas and activities without having to conform to social or 'professional' norms.
On a more prosaic level, for a community of 1500 people there are a surprising number of venues at which artists can perform or present their work. Visual artists can exhibit at the Savitri Bhavan, the Centre for Indian Culture, at Pitanga Hall, the Information Centre, or at the Solar Kitchen. Musicians and other performers can use the open-air stage at the Visitors' Center, the large auditorium at Bharat Nivas, the dance room in Pitanga Hall, or the recently opened music salon Salle Auropax.On the flipside, Auroville artists have to deal with a number of discouraging factors. There are, of course, climatic factors which play havoc with musical instruments and other sophisticated or sensitive equipment and materials. Then again exhibitions, while frequent, are not always well-attended. Additionally, few Aurovilians have the means to act as patrons or supporters of the arts through purchasing or commissioning new work, although a few commercial units have commissioned public art. Consequently, full-time artists have to market their work outside Auroville in order to survive, a job for which most artists are badly equipped. Some Auroville artists also resent the fact that their work only gains public recognition when it is used to promote Auroville at a public relations event or for fund-raising efforts.Another problem is the fact that only a small number of outstanding artists or aficionados of the arts reside here - after all, artistically we are still a very young and undeveloped culture. For artists like musicians, it is hard to achieve greater perfection or explore new territory without regularly playing with other musicians of high calibre. For visual artists it may be difficult to see things in new ways if one is not able to challenge one's own thinking through seeing the works and conversing with numerous others.One possibility is for them to draw upon the experience of the many visiting artists who come to Auroville for brief or extended periods of time. They often regard Auroville as a kind of paradise and are eager to share with other artists and to impart specialised skills.
It would be wrong to blame all the disincentives to artistic creation on the community at large: the artists themselves must also take some responsibility. Indian art in all its forms has wonderful potential for expanding one's artistic horizons, yet this source remains largely unexplored by Auroville artists. Again, it is quite common in artist communities and centres of the arts elsewhere for artists to come together frequently to discuss and critique each other's work in a spirit of artistic collaboration. Yet here such forums hardly exist. Another criticism of the arts produced in Auroville is that many artists are reproducing Western definitions of "high art". In this concept art is seen as separate from the mundane world, to be viewed in galleries, or heard in auditoria. The commitment to this orientation explains why so few artists have experimented, for example, with the use of everyday materials or performances that break with the tradition of the proscenium stage.
An Auroville culture?
Is a distinct Aurovilian culture or form of artistic expression emerging, something different from what is happening elsewhere? The majority of Auroville artists are cautious about making any such statement, pointing out that a specific culture may take many years to evolve. However, there are at least two indications that something specifically 'Aurovilian' in artistic expression may be in the first stages of birth. Firstly, Auroville artists who exhibit or perform together outside Auroville are often seen by outsiders to be expressing something 'different' from the norm. Secondly, there is increasing evidence, particularly in the realm of music, that Auroville artists are no longer merely drawing upon existing material or trends but are increasingly experimenting with new forms.This raises the question of what Aurovilians expect from the community's artists. A few years ago when Beckett's play Waiting for Godot was staged, some members of the theatre going audience expressed disapproval, stating that the play was inherently irrelevant to life here. A similar verdict was pronounced on a performance of Japanese butoh dance a few years later. The suggestion is that only certain subjects are appropriate to be worked on and viewed in Auroville - presumably those which can somehow be described as 'spiritual' art. But how do you define 'spiritual' art? The more one thinks about it, the more impossible it becomes, for almost any form of expression can be a means of evoking or exploring the subtler realms in the hands of an inspired artist.
Though there are many concrete and mental stumbling blocks to artistic creation in Auroville, there is a definite sense of the tremendous potential this place has for the creative process, and there is little question that the overall quality of artistic work is steadily improving. With the diverse population and beautiful environment, one may expect that Auroville will not only attract many fine artists, but produce more and more of them itself so that, together, they will make of the city and its greenbelt one gigantic work of art.
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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Surrounding and Being

Volume 23 - Issue 19 :: Sep. 23-Oct. 06, 2006 INDIA'S NATIONAL MAGAZINEfrom the publishers of THE HINDU • Contents HERITAGE Timber classics RAMU KATAKAM PHOTOGRAPHS BY JOGINDER SINGH The extraordinarily beautiful wooden temples spread across Kerala reflect a great simplicity of form.
THE INTERIOR OF the Sri Vallabhaswami temple at Thiruvalla lit up with oil lamps.
THE architecture of Kerala is unique not only in India but in the world. The extraordinary wooden temples spread across the State reflect a great simplicity of form and materials. Glimpses of Architecture in Kerala is a book that attempts to bring out their special quality of design through images. It portrays a number of major temples that represent Kerala architecture at its finest. The delight with which designers of a different era were able to build and create space in harmony with their surroundings is worth experiencing.
Kerala's waterways, greenery and architecture are experiences that are now becoming scarce in other parts of the country. I had this experience for the first time in the early 1980s, while designing a house for a friend. We were visiting the backwaters when a fisherman offered us his catch. We liked the idea and negotiated a purchase. Before we knew it, a local gardener quickly cleaned the fish, plucked a couple of raw mangoes from a tree close by, and made a chutney with fresh chillies and salt. She fried the fish over a fire built from broken twigs and produced a delicious dish; its taste is still fresh in my memory. This small gesture has always symbolised to me the abundance and self-sufficiency of Kerala.
THE TEMPLE AT Peruvanam.
Many of Kerala's magnificent temples are hidden in the countryside, along its rivers or high up in the hills. In every instance, the location is chosen carefully and the setting is invariably beautiful. Temples in this land are the focus of the lives of people who follow the Hindu faith. Unlike the grand edifices of the more famous Indian temples, these places of worship are low in profile and offer a tranquility and space for prayer that is rare in today's world of intense activity.
THE RAMA TEMPLE at Thripprayar.
Older temples usually have streets leading to them on four sides, each becoming an axis of settlements surrounding the temple. At Peruvanam, one of the streets leads to a temple tank, which in this instance is situated at a distance and the houses on both sides become an extension of the vista. A temple becomes a meeting point where philosophy and politics are discussed. It is also the centre for theatre and traditional dance performances and the main venue to celebrate major festivals.
The temple's roof.
In a town or city, a temple can play a pivotal role in the manner in which the Vadakkunnatha temple in the middle of Thrissur town does. The temple at Mannar, a small town near Kottayam that specialises in making brass lamps, is extraordinarily simple, its sand-covered outer court typifying the style of a Kerala temple.
A PANEL AT the Kaviyur temple depicting Krishna's encounter with demons.
The Kaviyur temple at Kaviyur near Thiruvalla and the Sri Vallabhaswami temple at Thiruvalla are my personal favourites. In scale and detail, they are representative of Kerala temples. These two are masterpieces of their workmanship in timber and the intricate sculpture is a joy to experience. Oil lamps light up the woodwork at the entrance to the Sri Vallabhaswami temple and illuminate the beautiful interior.
A bird's eye view of the temple.
The theatres attached to a temple are known as Koothambalams and provide a space for other activities related to the temple. These are magnificent timber structures with high roofs and give the designer and the builder a chance to work on a larger scale than is available to them when making temple shrines. Decorative elements within the Koothambalams are areas where the sculptor and the painter are given more opportunities to use their skills. The temple tank is another major feature of the complex. Used for bathing before entering the temple, these water bodies are able to give a balance to the architecture.
THE KOOTHAMBALAM AT the Vadakkunnatha temple in Thrissur.
In northern Kerala, there is a kind of austerity to both the landscape and the design of temples. The Rama temple at Thripprayar has very few frills, but it blends in with the natural landscape. The Ananthapadmanabhaswami temple near Kumbla in Kannur district is surrounded by water. Close to it are the ruins of a once prosperous settlement, a lone oak tree conveying the desolation of the place.
Light filtering in through the trellis work in a wall of the Koothambalam.
Designers of these extraordinary structures were able to soften the sunlight; yet there is enough natural light to illumine and enhance the interiors, the play of light and shade adding a special quality to the way the architecture is experienced. The murals and wooden sculptures, portraying events in the lives of gods, complete the design. Episodes from the life of Krishna are depicted in the elaborately carved panels surrounding the Srikovil (main shrine). The panels also tell stories of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. The dark confines of the garbha griha (sanctum santorum), which houses the deity, is lit up with oil lamps.
Inside the Koothambalam.
The basic form of the temples has remained unchanged for centuries, yet each temple is unique. Inside the temple, one is either alone with oneself or one with the gathering of devotees. It is a space that allows the individual to become aware of his/her being. Sri Aurobindo observes that Indian architecture is built in relation to its surroundings and the sky.
KRISHNAPURAM PALACE IN Kayamkulam near Kollam.
He also says that "the buildings should be seen in loneliness, in the solitude of one's self, in moments when one is capable of long and deep meditation and as little weighted as possible with the conventions of material life". Kerala temples, as the images illustrate, are reflections of this kind of architecture and bring balance back to one's life. Ramu Katakam can be contacted at ramu@katakam.com , Joginder Singh at jogisingh@gmail.com

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

People and the architecture

A Roman holiday in Mumbai Georgina Maddox
The Indian Express Tuesday , September 19, 2006 Home> Mumbai> Talk
SO you couldn't make it to Italy this summer. Live vicariously is what we say, through images from the land of the Leaning Tower of Pisa and classic sculptures. Three Italian artists: Photographer Mino La Franca, who has trained his lens on Rome; Pino Marchese who gives you India through Italian eyes and painter Lucia Pescador, who presents her inner vision on canvas—a symposium of both the countries, will be showcasing their work at the Italia Art Fest at Masterpieces Galerie De Designe.
This celebration of Italian art will be on from September 22 to October 7 at the gallery, which is located at Jony Castle, off Wodehouse Road in Colaba.
‘‘The show is intended to give viewers a slice of Italy. I’ve always felt that Italy and India have so many things in common. This show is an attempt to exchange as much of our beautiful ancient cultures as we can,’’ says La Franca, a well known fashion photographer, known for the D’damas campaign.
While Pino Marchese and Lucia Pescador will unfortunately not be able to make it for the opening night, their works will speak for them. Marchese is ‘an architect by education and photographer by passion’, who now lives in Auroville, Pondichery and his photographs of India delve into the vibrant relationship between the people and the architecture surrounding them.
Franca has worked with Pescador in Milan and is of the opinion that she is one of the ‘best Italian painters, who lives in a world of dreams, inspired by her home and her immediate surroundings.’ She is well known in Italy for her vibrant colours and her works are collected by many. This is not the first time that Pescador is showing in India, she had an exhibition here last year, too. The photographs are for sale and priced between Rs 5,000 to Rs One lakh.
The inaugural night will wind up with Italian elan, with opera singer Claudine rendering Le Figaro. The evening is organised by COHO, and is open to all.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Increased aesthetic sensitivity, true followers of Nietzsche

Postmodern spirituality A dialogue in five parts Part V: Can Only A God Save Us? Postmodern Proto-Spirituality And The Current Global Turn To Religion Roland Benedikter integralworld.net
The space beyond that “heightened attention” or “increased aesthetic sensitivity” (Loytard) is seen, by most of the academic research and teaching professionals of today, not only as radically ambivalent - which it is, actually, as we know, by its very nature, because there is no simple “good” and “evil” in that space anymore. But it is seen by them also as profoundly dangerous, and, third, as useless for the further concrete emancipation of society. That is what most traditional universities try to teach us in the “spirit” of the first generation of postmodernity.
They lead young people to the borderline point of spatial self- and world-observation we described; but nobody teaches those people then how to go beyond and how to confront the realm beyond that point in an appropriate way. By “appropriate” I mean a way which could turn into something philosophically sustainable, into something that could truly balance subjectivity and spiritual objectivity as a rational system of practical experience and thinking. Nobody teaches you how to move in the realm beyond the borderline. We could call that the “blind spot” of postmodernity regarding empirical phaenomenological research.
Cf. Wendelin Kuepers: Phenomenology of Embodied Implicit and Narrative Knowing, In: Journal of Knowledge Management Volume 9, No 6, 113-133; Wendelin Kuepers: The Relevance of Advanced Phenomenology for Integral Research - or why Phenomenology is more and different than an “upper left” or “Zone1” Affair. In: Integral Review. An Integral, Transdisciplinary and Transcultural Journal for New Thought, Research and Practice, Issue 3, 2006, forthcoming)...
In some of the oldest Eastern traditions, many things are related to Tantra, or to a very strong physical human encounter. Or, if you put in Lyotard's terms, to a very physical “erotization of the will”. The origins of the Veda, the whole Indian culture show us that what origins in Tantra is a certain basic psycho-sexual experience that is part of a spiritual dimension. This psycho-sexual experience is related to pleasure and “more value of intensity”, too. But if you observe how helplessly we poor postmodern subjects, including me and maybe also you, try to experience pleasure, I sometimes doubt if our children will ever find something spiritual in our concept of “inner more value” or pleasure...
Postmodern pleasure seems to be more like an escape into an intensity that never gives you what it promises. And with that, we are closing the circle of our reflections. We are returning at the point were we started in the first dialogue. Remember? We talked of postmodern proto-spirituality as a kind of unfulfilled – and maybe structurally unfullfillable – desire which may be characteristic for our times...
You know, maybe we have to wait for some younger people, for some people of a possible “second generation” of postmodern philosophy, which may try to create systemically that integrative thinking we talked of as a core necessity for the coming years? And in fact, there seem to be some young academics which, step by step, increasingly seem to lose their fears to try it at least.
Cf., for example, Markus Molz, Hilde Weckmann, Wendelin Kuepers, Antonella Verdiani and others: Founding European Integral Academy. A Project Outline. Strasbourg 2006, still unpublished; cf. Mark Edwards, Graduate School of Management, University of Western Australia: On the interpretation of sacred writings from an integral theory perspective, forthcoming; and cf. the contributors in Roland Benedikter: Postmaterialism. A Book Series In 7 Volumes. Volume 1: Introduction Into Postmaterialist Thinking Of The Second Generation; Volume 2: Men In Post-Capitalist Culture; Volume 3: Labour; Volume 4: Nature; Volume 5: Capital; Volume 6: Globalization; Volume 7: Perspectives Of Postmaterialist Thinking Of The Second Generation. Vienna 2001-2005. www.passagen.at/autoren/benedikter.html .
Unfortunately, most of those young new thinkers remain single combatants against their times – like, for the rest, Nietzsche was a “combatant against its time” in his epoch (cf. Rudolf Steiner, who wrote the very first book about Friedrich Nietzsche, one of the fathers of Postmodernity: Rudolf Steiner: Friedrich Nietzsche – A Combatant Against His Times, 1895. In: Collected Works No. 5, Dornach 1999). For me, those young thinkers are the true followers of Nietzsche – because they are trying to go one step farther than postmodern Zeitgeist.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Time is the most Surreal of all



Thursday, July 20, 2006 posted by Augustina at 5:17 AM

Integral artists

Integral art can be defined as art that reaches across multiple quadrants and levels, or simply as art that was created by someone who thinks or acts in an integral way.
Alex Grey is a psychedelic visual artist whose works have been admired by Wilber and others.
Stuart Davis is an eclectic musician whose works include the concept album Bright Apocalypse. Mystical and integral themes feature large in his lyrics.
Saul Williams is a hip-hop artist who is associated with the Integral Institute.
Wilber is a big fan of the Wachowski brothers. He considers the Matrix series to convey important philosophical truths, and has done a DVD commentary track on them with philosopher Cornel West. Art Integral Blog - Matthew Dallman

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Unbound Verdant Cover

From: "barin chaki" barin_chaki@yahoo.co.in To: "Tusar N. Mohapatra" tusarnmohapatra@mail.com Subject: Re: Fw: New comment on Life and Yoga By Sri Aurobindo Date: Fri, 28 Jul 2006 14:13:19 +0100 (BST)

Dear Tusar,
I should have replied you earlier, but I was a bit disturbed and busy otherwise for the last one week, as a result of which I could not proceed ahead with my Blogs and I could not also reply you. But anyhow, finding you back, in a far greater perspective, is indeed a matter of great joy!
I have gone through your blogs and also the blog of your daughters. I liked the painting Unbound of your daughter Rimina in Panorama, one of her Blogs. The painting Verdant Cover by Silika is also beautiful.

Regarding the comment by gnat, I will post a comment later in your Blog. Thanking your for remembering me. I have began another Blog in Blogspot : The New Vision. With the best wishes, for you and for your family-members, Barin 28-07-2006 From Barindranath Chaki The New Horizon - http://www.freewebs.com/barinchaki/ , http://barin.zaadz.com

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Emphasis on abstracts is nothing but copying of European painters

In the lap of nature: Finally, there are two veteran painters who speak against the ever rising, unreasonable price tag on the paintings. Just read on as Serbjeet Singh and Vinod Sharma take stock of the art scenario today VETERANS SPEAK Serbjeet Singh and Vinod Sharma paint for passion. Everything else comes later The Hindu Metro Plus DelhiSaturday, Jul 29, 2006
They are both mesmerised by nature in its moment of perfection - a distilled, pristine purity that is fleeting as it is permanent. It beckons to them to reveal its myriad moods in a dance only they can perceive and better still, capture. It then becomes a part of their mind's eye to gush forward in a burst of joyous abandon that takes on an energy that almost spiritual in its manifestation. And yet in this abstraction is a narrative that unfolds in layers of silences.
Alka Raghuvanshi brings together artists Serbjeet Singh and Vinod Sharma whose landscapes bring the outdoors inside in an amazing interplay of light, textures and shadows. Their creative instincts have led both of them to explore the medium of film as well. Serbjeet's charming wit has us in splits as he has a million anecdotes to tell - pity he refuses to write them - of people and their quirks. Affable Vinod's frequent smile lights up his face as he talks about the restlessness that impels him to explore new vistas and traverse the extra mile.
Vinod: When people ask me as to why my focus was on landscapes for nearly four decades, I tell them it is only in India where we have some of the most stunning landscapes that we tend to take for granted - because they are there! Besides, for my love affair with nature to have lasted this long, there must be something in it!
Serbjeet: Exactly! Only in India the genre of doing landscapes is taking a backseat. This contemporary emphasis on abstracts is nothing but copying of European painters of 80 years ago! Picasso, Matisse, Cezanne have all been adopted by the various top Indian painters whose work has not grown beyond these adopted maibaaps! I remember Sanjay Gandhi got very upset with M.F. Husain for portraying his mother Indira negatively dressed!
Vinod: To me, my work is abstraction. When I see your work, I find it totally abstract. I'm not painting a tree like a photograph or even trying to reproduce it. It is a matter of perspective.
Serbjeet: True, it is a bit like Rashomon! It is a matter of your own perspective. There are times when I do white, transparent skies. Because I have trekked 25000 miles myself through the upper reaches of the Himalayas I am able to play with perspectives. I have house in Dalhousie and I would wander off in the mountains in the old British tradition of adventure for yourself - not for setting any records.
Vinod: Same here. I don't photograph landscapes, but try to experience them and then create the textures that my mind saw and my heart remembers. For textures are very important for me - having been a student of printmaking in my initial years. I find the feeling of painting on location totally different from doing it later in the studio. The immediacy has its own context.
Serbjeet: When I was making Himalaya Darshan series of films, it was such an experience to capture on camera what was part of my own mental sketchbook. You know I have made nearly 400 short films! And I will have you know that I got the Edinburgh award five years before Satyajit Ray!
Vinod: I too find film filmmaking very exciting. It is my passion. I once did the art direction of a horror film and loved it! When I am doing a film I want to be in every department - including attending the shooting!
Serbjeet: What is rather heartbreaking is that young artists are not allowed to grow. There is a waiting period of gallery booking for two years!
Vinod: I think there is a stranglehold of a few painters and the monopoly of a few is having a very negative impact on a few painters.
Serbjeet: Just as this current trend of artificially hiked rates of paintings is nothing but money laundering. When the business is of multi-crores, then it is financially unsustainable. Rich men's bored housewives throwing page 3 parties is not how a gallery is run. There are too many layers within it. In the last 10 years or so, painting has become a matter of speculation like stocks and shares. Even if you were to take it at face value, who in India will spend 10 million on a painting? It has to stabilise and then the real prices will emerge.
Vinod: It is nothing but natak baazi. Price rise of 10 to 15 per cent is sustainable. And the current trend of going overboard and raising it 200 per cent is just not sustainable. Even if I were to do it for my work, I'll feel guilty myself! Besides art must be within the reach of the middle classes as it was meant to be. In the long run, it is bad for the art if it is bought for mere investment.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The beauties

‘…Others finished with reincarnations and of a different over all nature, may begin the long journey leading towards the vocation of a creator. On a much different plane this could be compared to geniuses in creative fields within your physical reality. Instead of paints words, musical notes, the creators begin to experiment with dimensions of actuality; imparting knowledge in as many forms as possible-and I do not mean physical forms. What you would call time is manipulated as an artist would manipulate pigment. What you would call space is gathered together in different ways. Art is created, then, using time for example, as a structure. In your terms time and space might be mixed. The beauties of various ages, the natural beauties, the paintings and buildings are all recreated as learning methods for these beginners. One of their main preoccupations is to create beauty that impinges itself in as many various dimensions of reality as possible..’ Session 547 by Jane Roberts
posted by Augustina at 1:03 PM Reflections on practise Sunday, July 23, 2006 sethart.blogspot.com Augustina Location: London, England, United Kingdom ( Sumari/Sumari-Intermediate ) Translations of intensities and primary cordella/archetypal complexes into Art forms. Integral art practise. Depth intimacies within relationships. Focuses further complicated by issues of beauty, sensuality, eros, ritualised sex and pathways of pleasure, beyond to other sensualities including pain but all encoded as Love expressing desire for the masculine. Aesthetics. Mythologies. Psychic structures. Symbolism. Lingistics and word origins.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Geologically made mannequins, a frontier of the Marvelous

Rocks have the incredible ability of being perceived as things they are not. In the inspired mind a simple outcome of erosion can, by chance, match the human figure, creating a fault-line in our patterned, predictable view of the world. Almost a mile south from the city of Bandon, in a remote location off the Oregon coast, is a rock formation that can easily be identified as a woman’s face in profile. Prosaically christened Face Rock by early European settlers, this mimetolith has a richer, more luminous history with the indigenous population. A Coquille Indian tale recounts the fate of Ewauna, the daughter of Chief Siskiyou, who was abducted by the evil spirit of the ocean while out for a midnight swim. Knowing the spirit’s power rest in its gaze, Ewauna defiantly refused to look in its eyes, and was tragically transformed―by the spirit or some other supernatural means it is not clear―into stone.
For evident reasons, the human face and figure are the most frequent images seen in rock formations, and to catalog such convergences of stone and shape would be a perpetual errand. However, the commonality of these apparitions does not spoil their participation in the enchantment of the everyday. Bulging with contradictions, these formations, as geologically made mannequins, obscure the line between the living and the lifeless, and redefine the limits between the hidden and the frankly obvious. If the human imagination has a connection to the natural world it is one we are forced to forget by our rational precepts. But when the repressed reaches out it forges that connection anew, making the earth with its many rocks a frontier of the Marvelous. Brandon Freels Friday, January 20, 2006 Ewuana and Her Kind 4:44 PM Flying Stone The online bulletin of the Portland Surrealist Group

Surreality in geography

Map reading as a form of interpretive delirium brings us closer to the surreality in geography. Where the Willamette and Columbia rivers meet there becomes visible the tip of a canine nose that eventually gives way to the silhouette of a coyote framed by the two rivers. This image shadows the region, stretching its chest as far south as Oregon City and flattening its ears eastward in the form of the poorly named Government Island. Known for his various adventures along these two rivers it isn’t too far-fetched to see this visual play as a likeness of the mythic Coyote, a mischievous and resourceful personage in the indigenous social fabric. And yet, given that a Colville Indian tale attributes the creation of the Columbia, in an attempt to bring salmon into the region, to Coyote himself, perhaps this image can be seen as an unconscious slip, a kind of fortuitous self-portrait by the territory’s most prolific pleasure seeker. MK Shibek and Brandon Freels The Paranoiac-Critical Coyote Flying Stone Tuesday, March 21, 2006 6:10 PM

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Sexier shows that stir excitement and draw crowds

Art Rearranged: The Shock of the New and the Comfort of the Old By ALAN RIDING NYTimes.com Homepage: July 22, 2006
PARIS, July 21 — Pity the curator in the age of the blockbuster. While art museums are usually rated by the quality of their permanent collections, it is all too often their temporary shows that stir excitement and draw crowds. Not infrequently, a work of art that is barely noticed while on permanent display is suddenly lionized in a short-term exhibition. One answer is to make the permanent collection seem, well, sexier. And to this end, some leading museums of modern and contemporary art are testing a fresh approach: if collections are frequently rearranged, either by bringing works out of storage or by changing the focus of installations, they can acquire something of the buzz of temporary shows.
“It’s something we talk about a great deal,” said John Elderfield, chief curator of paintings and sculptures at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. “How does one try to engage people with the collection as much as people seem to be willing to be engaged with temporary exhibitions?” At MoMA, Tate Modern in London and the Georges Pompidou Center in Paris, which boast the best 20th-century collections, curators have even given conceptual names to some displays to suggest they are pursuing an innovative intellectual theme rather than simply offering a lesson in art history.
“We have become more like temporary exhibitions,” said Frances Morris, who is in charge of displays at Tate Modern, which has just reinstalled its collection only six years after opening. “Temporary shows have driven the agenda for the last 30 years. It was always in these shows that new ground was being broken. I’d like to think that we are also now being experimental with permanent collections.”
“Collections are not static, so why present them statically?” asked Vicente Todoli, Tate Modern’s director. “When works are always in the same place, people say, ‘Oh, I’ve seen it already.’ You have to encourage visitors to come more than once because, with each visit, the work is viewed differently. You have to surprise and confront the visitor.”

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Forgotten awareness of a place felt to be Home

Daniel Brian Holeman Born 8:41 PM Oct. 9, 1952, San Jose, California
Artistic talent combined with life-long exploration of consciousness and devotion to self-realization has given Daniel B. Holeman an ability to depict uplifting and profound sacred imagery. His inspirational paintings have a strong impact and an uncanny affect on people. Many are deeply touched emotionally – sometimes brought to tears - and describe his paintings as the most beautiful pictures they have ever seen.
Daniel feels it is not so much the beauty as the place it stirs in people that they are responding to. He invites the viewer to dive into a deeper dimension of consciousness while viewing his paintings. The imagery stirs forgotten awareness of a place felt to be HOME – a warm, familiar and heartfelt state of mind – a welcome contrast to the day-to-day world we live in. His work has been used on TV and videos, book and CD covers, magazines, prints, posters, cards and the internet. See some samples of published works here.
Self-taught techniques include oil on canvas with airbrush touchup. The mandala works are pen and ink on paper, and then colored on computer. Rather than appealing to select markets, such as "New Age" and "Spiritual", his work appeals to a good percentage of people in all categories - perhaps anyone who appreciates or longs for that heartfelt place - thus crossing race, social, gender, religious and ethnic boundaries.
His paintings and reproductions can be seen and purchased at the InnerSpace Gallery at the Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas. His Web Site, AwakenVisions.com, is a special world to explore and enjoy - a Domain of Beauty, Insight, Transformation and Awakening. In addition to the artwork, Awaken Visions is a haven for truth seekers, consciousness explorers and all who know, don't know, or want to know what it's all about. For more information visit Spiritual Awakening. Born and raised in San Jose, Daniel currently resides in San Rafael, California and is working on a new series of inspiring abstract oil paintings.
Also see Awaken Truth Foundation Also see Daniel's Philosophy The intent of Daniel B. Holeman's artwork is to inspire people to find truth and self-realization.Daniel is also available to give talks, teachings and presentations about Awakening,Liberation as well as the artwork and what it is about. Inquire by email.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

They nevertheless deserved to be admired

Pilgrimage to an art temple in Amsterdam Sudheendra Kulkarni Indian Express : Sunday, June 04, 2006
During my school years in a small town in Karnataka, I worked as a volunteer in a public library after school hours. It was my earliest introduction to the world of books. Kannada being my mother tongue, and also the medium of study, most of the books I read were from the rich treasure of Kannada literature. And nobody had so much of a mind-expanding influence on me as Shivram Karanth, a multi-faceted literary personality and later a Jnanpith laureate. As I write these lines from Amsterdam, after spending a whole day at the Van Gogh Museum, one book of Karanth that I recall is his travelogue titled Apoorva Paschim (The Unique West).
I have been revisiting it in my mind repeatedly after visiting the Vatican Museum in Rome, the Louvre, Versailles and Rodin Museum in Paris and countless manifestations of art in the monuments and buildings during my extended stay in Europe. In this book, Karanth describes the artistic and cultural heritage of Europe with unrestrained admiration. He was especially impressed by how European countries tried to preserve their heritage during the two catastrophic World Wars. Apart from kindling my imagination about the beauty of distant Europe, what Karanth did was make me understand an important truth: even though one may dislike the West’s colonial powers for what they did to countries like India, they nevertheless deserved to be admired for all that was good and noble in them.
Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890) is one of Europe’s many noble gifts to mankind. His name had left no impression on me in my school days. But he was to be a major discovery in my rebellious growing-up years in college—and the discovery has not ended yet. I never tried my hand at art, but like most young people radicalised by socialist ideals, I was gripped by questions—and answers—about art’s place in life, and its impact on society and politics. And Van Gogh, though he never advocated any ideology, became an inspiration to raise these questions and find answers.
What drew me to him was the book Lust for Life, based on hundreds of letter that Van Gogh wrote to his brother Theo, who was both his benefactor and his unsuccessful art dealer. In my solitary hours, I experienced an indescribable connectedness with his paintings. This befriending of the Dutch artist created an intense desire to see the famous Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, which houses the largest collection of his paintings (over 200), drawings and his letters. Hence, last week’s visit was in some ways a pilgrimage to a temple of art.
The use of the word ‘temple’ is deliberate. Van Gogh’s art is spiritual. If prayer or worship means a way of reverential reaching out to the Higher Power that has created this universe, and whose inter-connected attributes have been described by Indian rishis as ‘‘Satyam, Shivam, Sundaram’’ (Truth, Divnity, Beauty), then Van Gogh’s paintings have the power to draw the viewer into a spiritual journey. (He writes in a letter to Theo, ‘‘A feeling, even a keen one, for the beauties of nature is not the same thing as a religious feeling, though I think these stand in close relation to one another.’’)
Maybe the beauty of his paintings lies in the power of his colours, or in his almost disorderly brushstroke which has got uniquely identified with him. But the more you watch, the more you realise that it is not any external aspect that has drawn you in. Rather, it is the purity and sublime nature of his art. It is his love for life, but also his agonies in life. It is his paintings’ ability to make us aware of how our own existence and the society we live in have lost the self-elevating harmony with nature, and how this could be at the root of much of our sorrow, our unhappiness with ourselves, our conflicts and our dehumanisation.
For an artist who posthumously became almost a cult figure in the art world, Van Gogh lived a life of poverty, neglect and, in his later years, ill-health. This partly explains his compassion for and solidarity with the poor. He found that honesty and true religious values were more deeply rooted in peasants and workers than in ‘‘the civilised people in cities’’. One of his famous paintings is Potato Eaters, about which he writes to his brother, ‘‘...I have tried to emphasise that those people, eating their potatoes in the lamplight, have dug the earth with those very hands they put in the dish, and so it speaks of manual labour, and how they have honestly earned their food.’’
The Peasants’ Churchyard, another prized work in the museum, shows a rural church in ruins (perhaps Van Gogh’s way of bemoaning the decline of Christianity in Europe) surrounded by a graveyard bearing crosses. ‘‘I wanted to express,’’ he writes in another letter to his brother, ‘‘how these ruins show that for ages peasants have been laid to rest in the very fields which they dug up when alive. I wanted to express what a simple thing death and burial is, just as simple as the falling of autumn leaf—just a bit of earth dug up, a wooden cross...And now these ruins tell me how a faith and a religion mouldered away—strongly founded though they were—but how the life and death of the peasants forever remain the same...Religions pass away, God remains.’’
Sorrow and death are recurring themes in Van Gogh, just as serene tranquillity and springtime renewal of life are. The blue sky he painted has the soothing effect of a mother’s or a lover’s hand. At other times, it is transformed into the tempestuous swirling of clouds and stars. In each case, it mirrors infinity, and the artist’s search for the mystery of transient human existence.
Institutionalised religion troubled Van Gogh. But the life of Christ remained his ideal. To a fellow painter he writes: ‘‘Christ alone—of all the philosphers—has affirmed, as a principled certainty, eternal life, the infinity of time, the nothingness of death, the necessity and raison d’etre of serenity and devotion. He lived serenely, as a greater artist than all other artists, despising marble and clay as well as colour, working in living flesh.’’
In the world of art today, the meaning and magic of art are often obscured by constant money talk. The legacy that Van Gogh has left, however, cannot be measured by the tens of millions of dollars that each of his paintings fetch—and there are very few that get sold at all. Rather it is to be measured by the love and popular acclaim that he has won all over the world, by the good feelings and good thoughts that he sows among generation after generation of art lovers. No wonder, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam attracts more than a million visitors each year. ‘‘My need to serve the people, arising from a religious calling, has now become a strong desire to leave a certain souvenir to humankind in the form of drawings and paintings,’’ he wrote in one of his letters, two years before he shot himself.
As I came out of the beautifully designed museum, with a bagful of Van Gogh souvenirs purchased at the gift shop, my eyes were drawn to a line, engraved in large letters in dozens of different languages, at the entrance. It read: ‘‘Go to the museum as often as you can—Van Gogh, 1883.’’ To me it meant, ‘‘Go to Temples of Art as often as you can.’’ write to sudheen.kulkarni@expressindia.com editor@expressindia.com