Friday, January 20, 2006

Because it does not aim at being artistic

Satyam, Shivam, Sundaram Natalia Kravtchenko, Vladimir Zaitsev
From ancient, miraculous stones build the steps of the future Nicholas Roerich
CULTURE OF PEACE Edited by BAIDYANATH SARASWATI 1999, Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts
One would be able to reach it when the difference between mechanical civilization and the coming culture of the spirit is realized. ‘For man intellectually developed,’ writes Sri Aurobindo, ‘mighty in scientific knowledge and the mastery of gross and subtle nature, using the elements as his servants and the world as his footstool, but undeveloped in heart and spirit, becomes only an inferior kind of asura (demon), using the power of a demigod to satisfy animal nature.’ Observing the historical panorama one may find that civilization is created during a few decades, while culture is based upon achievements of thousands years.
In art of this subtlety there are qualities that go farther than naturalness or realism. The process of communication between artist and object creates specific relationships between them; the artist is much more attracted to the inner content of the subject than to its external attractiveness.
There is always difference between likeness and truth. ‘Likeness could be obtained by shapes without spirit, but when Truth is reached, spirit and substance are both fully expressed.’ Evidently, beauty does not necessarily spell perfection of form. This has been one of the favourite tricks of artists in Japan and in some Scandinavian countries — to embody beauty in the form of imperfection or even ugliness, or asymmetry. All these methods of creativity served one main desire of the artist — to reveal another nature of the subject, to express its inner cosmos.
Thus in the art of icon painting we are moved first of all by the unspeakable beauty of the artistic image, which is transformed from the personal into universal. We completely agree with the opinion of Nalini Kanta Gupta who wrote on the Upanishads: ‘Art at its highest tends to become also the simplest and the most unconventional; and it is then the highest art, precisely because it does not aim at being artistic. The aesthetic motive is totally absent in the Upanishads; the sense of beauty is there, but it is attendant upon and involved in a deeper strand of consciousness.’ Indeed, at its highest, art does not tolerate any conventionality, nor violence. In the very foundations of being lives the concept of beauty, and where there is beauty, there is peace.
In Beauty we are united!
Through Beauty we pray!
With Beauty we conquer!

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