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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