Bonsai in Brick Lane

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Bonsai in Brick Lane

Post  marcus watts on Sun Nov 10, 2013 9:33 am

We've been very lucky here this week to have enjoyed a fantastic bonsai Art exhibition - the vision of Peter Warren.

Here is a blog post that covers my visit, feelings and observations.

http://littlecornishtrees.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/when-life-impregnates-art.html

The display brought bonsai out of the 'sheets on a table' type of affair and makes it be taken seriously by a wider art appreciating audience. It worked well. I've posted in 'discussion' as everyone must have a personal opinion on whether the same old bonsai format is becoming stale when the same old trees get wheeled out, dusted off and put on a cloth covered table, with a cloth backdrop, with a predictable accompaniment.

To get the ball rolling I feel a bonsai competition where trees are judged actually has nothing to do with a bonsai exhibition. If an event is judged a plain background the same for everyone is probably best .....but to be fair the trees could be judged separately beforehand on their own merits, in a totally different area. This would allow creative freedom for the owners to then make a more interesting exhibition for viewing pleasure

cheers Marcus

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Re: Bonsai in Brick Lane

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Sun Nov 10, 2013 5:34 pm

Marcus,

exhibition and judged competition are two separate situations. I think folk do the judging to encourage other folk to exhibit, because they need something to show for their work, other than a well done.

As containers go, I am all for plain and simple because, you could end up looking at the container and not the tree.
I only want to see the tree, or the pot if I am at a pottery exhibition.

For trees to really have personality, one has to study those tree types in nature, preferably something that locks the images into the brain, which is really what drawing does.
I figure very few study nature, lots of correct talk, know what to say, but no real study.
After while, everything will begin to repeat.

However, if it is a hobby, does it matter?

An exhibition, should have variety, and so you have folk to say what gets in.
BUT then other folk stop showing, and then there is no exhibition.

Fine Art is a business, work has to be paid for. Hobbies don't have that problem, unless you want your $$ back on those bought items.
So Fine Art has to be full of variety, otherwise you risk the label of Chinese Sweat Shop --- Art by the yard.

When Bonsai goes professional, one often has to sell. If you are wealthy enough you can have a professional tend to your trees, and exhibit - hmm - sounds like Kokufu or other.
I say get hobbyists to show, enjoy what they can do, encourage education on how to design and that should raise the standard back to what you might wish to view.
You would be amazed if you get a group of folk to just go on a drawing trip, how much things will change for the better.
Stay Well.
Khaimraj

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Re: Bonsai in Brick Lane

Post  fiona on Sun Nov 10, 2013 6:07 pm

I wish I had been able to attend this exhibition as it fills a gap for me. It reminded me, at least in concept, of a thread by quatrefi a while ago where his club took their exhibition to a disused railway station and exhibited their trees against a backdrop of graffiti and industrial landscape. ( http://ibonsaiclub.forumotion.com/t4298-urban-bonsais ). We've also had other examples on here of bonsai being exhibited outside the conventional. Don't get me wrong, I like standard cloths and so on, but I have never seen it as the only way to exhibit. To use Marcus' word, it can IMHO all become a little "predictable" at times, especially as we don't have (at least not here in the UK) the throughput of new material that occurs in Japan which takes it away from the same old same old.

There is also, IMHO, a fine dividing line between the innovative and the gimmicky. Perhaps because he approached it from the point of view of a bonsai artist, from the pictures I have seen in Marcus' and other threads, I believe he achieved the former rather than the latter.

Hats off to Peter for having at it.

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Re: Bonsai in Brick Lane

Post  Guest on Sun Nov 10, 2013 6:32 pm

To exhibit the bonsaitrees in the old railwaystation is very refreshing to me..

I like this Photo very much.
But after this is said, are the trees still exhibited the same way as always, I dont really see anything new here.

Could it have been possible to take the exhibition a Little further, used some of the material, previus used at the station as stands for the trees.
And could the trees have been better prepared for the event, by being taken out of the japanese styled pots during the winter, and placed in a another container more suitable for the old station?...how about a old worn bucket,  a rusty Coca cola, or maybe a broken beerbottle for a shohin?

Just thoughts

Kind regards Yvonne

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Re: Bonsai in Brick Lane

Post  fiona on Sun Nov 10, 2013 9:03 pm

The link to the railway line exhibition was merely a reference to a similar concept of taking trees out of the village hall exhibition room.

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Re: Bonsai in Brick Lane

Post  marcus watts on Sun Nov 10, 2013 9:35 pm

one of the most enjoyable displays i used my trees in was an open courtyard. Instead of placing them by the wall I built free standing plinths and arranged them in an arc across the courtyard. Now the viewers could walk round the trees and view them from every angle. On the occasions I stood back and watched most people viewed and photographed the trees from just about every random view point - the supposedly correct front meant nothing to a great number of viewers. do i think they had a lesser experience from not viewing the front? probably not....

if 100 people are invited to bring one tree long guidelines are needed to save it becoming a discordant mess but if a person has the luxury of creating the whole display then true creativity can shine through



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Re: Bonsai in Brick Lane

Post  Guest on Sun Nov 10, 2013 9:47 pm

Hi Marcus

I had some problems with understanding the topic, what you wanted....Foinas link gave some very nice Photo from a event, and I choose to respond on this.

You made your own exhibition with your own trees...this sound like a good idea, and I can understand you, and viewers had a great time...maybe one day I will do the same Smile 

You said...if 100 people are invited to bring one tree long guidelines are needed to save it becoming a discordant mess but if a person has the luxury of creating the whole display then true creativity can shine through.

I can only agree to this, there has to be a kind of line through a exhibition.

Kind regards Yvonne...do you have more Photos frem the newest event?


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Re: Bonsai in Brick Lane

Post  fiona on Sun Nov 10, 2013 9:52 pm

Yvonne, this discussion was prompted by an exhibition recently staged by Peter Warren, entitled Natural Flux. Marcus has given a link to his own blog comments in the first post on this thread and you can find out more at this link; http://naturalflux.co.uk/

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Re: Bonsai in Brick Lane

Post  Guest on Sun Nov 10, 2013 9:56 pm

I know Fiona

But I had problems with the understanding of what marcus was saying, and what he wanted...and Google was no help...I saw the Photos from the exhibition, but wanted to see more.

kind regards Yvonne

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Re: Bonsai in Brick Lane

Post  Andre Beaurain on Mon Nov 11, 2013 9:45 am

fiona wrote:
Perhaps because he approached it from the point of view of a bonsai artist,

Hats off to Peter for having at it.
Interesting. I always thought that a traditional bonsai display tokonoma does not fit into the contemporary home, unless it is designed in the eastern fashion. I do try myself to exhibit my bonsai on weekends in the non traditional way, or more the way that suits my interior...with a little clutter of course...hihihihihi But I do still like and respect the tokonoma...

I love the way the bonsai is exhibited in the link Marcus shared. Its more like pieces of art than bonsai, and that's the way I think we should think in displaying them.

I especially liked the Pine on the white display pillar without anything else...awesome, now you see it as ART and not as just a bonsai. Can you imagine bonsai exhibitions looking like a gallery, instead of the tablecloth display hall....mmmmmmmmmm

Love and light

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Re: Bonsai in Brick Lane

Post  fiona on Mon Nov 11, 2013 12:16 pm

Andre Beaurain wrote: Interesting.  I always thought that a traditional bonsai display tokonoma does not fit into the contemporary home, unless it is designed in the eastern fashion.
I personally think this is the essence of the "problem". We try to fit something that we have been told is the "right way" of displaying into places/situations where it is not in keeping. I too, like and respect the tokonoma as Andre says, but it is out of keeping with my house. I tend to go more for what Jim Lewis does and create a display using elements that fit more naturally with my room.

Andre Beaurain wrote:  Can you imagine bonsai exhibitions looking like a gallery, instead of the tablecloth display hall....mmmmmmmmmm
Two points; first, why not? What attracts me most to this sort of display style is the point that Marcus made that people could walk all round the exhibits and see them from all sides. This sort of interaction to me is far better than the viewing front approach. If the tree is the star as we probably all feel, then why do we insist on restricting its viewing to one side?

But the second point is this; if we all adopted the gallery display style, at what point would it become the new norm and at what point would we be looking for something new again? As I've said often on this forum, the shock of the new is always fairly short-lived. If I'm being slightly cynical, I rather suspect that it would follow the cyclical pattern of most fashions and at some point we'd come round full circle to the tokonoma being the preferred style.

Ain't Art a funny thing? In the meantime let's have both styles - and preferably free from the sneerings of either set of adherents towards the other.

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Re: Bonsai in Brick Lane

Post  Guest on Mon Nov 11, 2013 12:37 pm

I also use a display in my house, It does ofcourse have to fit in with furnitures and style we have, and my husbands taste too, this have learned me to keep the displays very minimalistic, and it is also too my taste, when talking "japanese/asian styled" homedisplays.

Exhibitions that allow people to walk arround among the displayed items is a nice thing, I have only seen it in suiseki, here is it fairly often used, and I enjoy this very much, as I like to see object from all sides. The bad thing about is, they photograph not well for the visitor ( I can live with that), having the bonsaitrees exhibited along the wall, is a good thing for large exhibitions like Kokofu-ten and Noelanders Trophy, as the big number of visitors can slowly walk by along the line of trees. For a small exhibition does it not matter I guess. In a gallery is it something else...The suiseki of the Benz-Collection, was exhibitd in a huge gallery together with paintings. The stones was standing in the room allowing the visitors to see all of the stone...It was a great exhibition.

Kind regards Yvonne

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Re: Bonsai in Brick Lane

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Mon Nov 11, 2013 9:24 pm

Every evening, I bring in a tree, these are the ones with pots at around 23 cm [ 9" ] in length, and I have a spot on my bureau, with a simple short wooden table that was for serving Japanese food, which I found at a Chinese supply store.
It's old, beaten, varnish peeling and a light yellow brown. Very simple.

That tree is the tree for the night, and admire it until light's off. Sometimes I add a figure, usually a small animal about 3 to 4 cm's [ elephant, roaring lion, godzilla, horse or tyrannasaurus rex........] they were specially chosen/bought for the look.
Of course I also have the angry bird and the panda twins, they have specially painted faces, they are called Mario and Luigi or in their Spanish form Roberto and Carlos. 4cm high, arms akimbo.

Sometimes, they admire the tree, or are astounded by the height or rest in the shade.

Nothing serious, just balancing shapes.

We still exhibit on simple white or off-white paper boxes. Just the tree, and invite folk to ask. Some want childhood tales, uses of the wood, ediblity of the fruit and memories of whatever.

I am not sure when you keep it that simple, if one could tire of the trees.

I am not into the scroll and accent plant bit, feels too contrived and artsy fa,,sy and when it comes to tables, it all becomes too decorative.

I think simplicity in an exhibition is enough, ever see a serious realist exhibition where the furniture competed with the oil paintings or sculpture ?
Ever see the Pieta, how much decoration it has all around it?
It stands behind a shield [ some fool with hammer .... ] by itself.
So does a good bonsai for me -- sans shield [ perhaps a don't touch card ] but by itself and I don't need to walk around it, my mind does that for me.
[ I have no problems if one wishes to exhibit in the round either.]
Later.
Khaimraj

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Re: Bonsai in Brick Lane

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Mon Nov 11, 2013 11:03 pm

I had a thought and maybe what might be happening is those with heavy artistic tendancies, end up with the hobbyists in Bonsai. The hobbyist is just looking for a simple,relaxing hobby, which bonsai can be.

Those with more of a drive for Art, need more training. They need to put more into the trees. This is manifesting itself as pottery, driftwood, and performance type work.

For myself, I get out into nature and work, set objectives, and grow seeds / cuttings to match my designs. If need be, as we say in imaginative painting, I have something to say.

Just wondering?
Later
Khaimraj

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Re: Bonsai in Brick Lane

Post  marcus watts on Mon Nov 11, 2013 11:04 pm

beautifully put Khaimraj,

the personal enjoyment of bonsai comes first every time when i sit alone and look or share with my family, but my greater joy comes from other people enjoying them in their own personal way. I have learnt more watching normal people observe trees on display than watching 'bonsai' people in the same situation. A 'normal' viewer is usually open minded, not biased and certainly not jealous so they see the tree for what it is - not good or bad but either to their taste or not so.

to display I have two outdoor areas in direct view of two main house windows - I put seasonally nice trees in these spots so I see them when passing by, when standing at the sink, etc i love these glimpses of a tree rather than a blatant display. i also use these areas for trees that need styling so i see them often without looking too hard- a good plan often comes from these observations


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Re: Bonsai in Brick Lane

Post  Andre Beaurain on Tue Nov 12, 2013 8:52 am

marcus watts wrote:beautifully put Khaimraj,

, but my greater joy comes from other people enjoying them in their own personal way. I have learnt more watching normal people observe trees on display than watching 'bonsai' people in the same situation. A 'normal' viewer is usually open minded, not biased and certainly not jealous so they see the tree for what it is - not good or bad but either to their taste or not so.


I have the same feel about it. Unbiased Customers that come to the nursery, and want to visit the Bonsai 'Temple' (as call it) I also love showing them, they have a childlike response to the miniature trees and bushes, and they always comment on something that I have not noticed. They open my eyes and make me appreciate them even more.
Bonsai visitors will be very reserved and comment appropriately.... very boring and right.

Love and light

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Re: Bonsai in Brick Lane

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Tue Nov 12, 2013 9:36 am

Andre',

Yvonne, gave me a gift, which I can never repay her for. For years I could not get the local Ficus p. to grow properly, same for the Ficus b. Changing the soil, allowed me to start some interesting projects.
With the local Ficus p. which also has willow leaves, I started a formal, informal, leaning set of trees. One of each.

So for the year I have spent the time growing the roots, and first branch single extension, next year I hope to do the second branch single extension and the first branch branchlets, the roots should be able to take care of the roots.

My point is, after doing all of this, I don't mind the casual viewer looking and enjoying, but I would also like some experienced eyes to appreciate, the roots, branches, branchlets and so on as well as the mass, composition etc..
It's how we do a painting, casual eyes yes, and experienced eyes as well. There should be some sort of balance.
Otherwise it will feel as though I have wasted my time.
Later.
Khaimraj

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Re: Bonsai in Brick Lane

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