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

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