tree sculptures

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Re: tree sculptures

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Wed Oct 27, 2010 3:01 pm

Apologies to all, spelling was never my strong suit -

-impermanence .
Khaimraj - that's me in the corner with the dunce cap on - losing my spelling bee - with apologies to REM.

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Re: tree sculptures

Post  Karl Thier on Wed Oct 27, 2010 4:15 pm

Hi Bonsai friends so you can understand how big the trees are two pictures. The units of measurement used the water bottle and a basement window.
It now needs two men to carry the trees. With stone-pot or slab, three men to carry necessary. Rolling Eyes

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Re: tree sculptures

Post  littleart-fx on Thu Oct 28, 2010 12:01 am

Hi All! And yes Karll!

It's not in size nor shape,....the true ballance lies within the patience of projecting!
Don't get me wrong,....who is talking about pots if shape is not there,...

For me,....i see trees with ohw POTENTAL and DARE!
Please,....make them!

Bonsai is an art in the unwritten word,....always two steps ahead......you alway's get comments...it's you who sets time....

Maybe hard but,...ay....i learn....in a good way....i hope!

And @ all,...projecting art to form....that is looking at it the hard way,....envy the growing project....haha the art world say's to me....
i would make stills.......as i do.....and going....and....going....and.....(whole different story!)......and......

on gowing,......

Grtzz from Holland where winter slowly sets in.......i do admire them coulors of harvest....d(*)mnd where is that reccord.......Neil HELP!

Machiel!

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Re: tree sculptures

Post  Guest on Thu Oct 28, 2010 7:20 am

Ugly bonsai or beautiful bonsai?
Walther stated somewhere that art has to be ugly. Nonsense I think, when we talk bonsai. One art teacher will teach you this, another one wants another direction - but the teacher did not teach bonsai I believe? He teached western art, and that is something different.
But teaching directions in art is the same in bonsai. One bonsai teacher teaches a certain way of setting up a Shohin-display, another one teaches otherwise. But ugliness is not part of the original terms in bonsai as a goal.

I have been triggered a bit by the general discussion for a while now. I admit that some comments have irritated me tremendously, but it also got me to realize some things.
We are always discussing bonsai as art. Maybe that is the fault. Art in western eyes I mean. The question might be if bonsai really is an art form in the west?
It is in Japan, but is it also the case in Europe, in the US? In Europe I do not think anybody (besides bonsai enthusiasts) recognize bonsai as art. For most people outside the inner circles, bonsai is a hobby and a craft, but not really an art.

Western art has the qualities of being expressive, progressive and evolutionary. Always trying to add a new direction, communicative and moving borders. Clearly seen in this thread and others alike.

Japanese art is trying to remove anything not essential for the piece of art. Pealing all layers off, removing anything disturbing but the pure and simple image left back. Therefore the Japanese art of bonsai is really limited. You can’t do much without breaking with the fundamentals of Japanese bonsai, unless you try to learn the essence of this culture.

Western art ads, and Japanese art removes, put a little simple and populistic.

Without questioning anything in the pieces shown, I just think that we might need to rethink what bonsai is to us (I do not seek a result, just put up a matter to think about).
Do I see myself as an artist? No, I actually do not. Because I am thinking in a western way, trying to learn Japanese art form.
My wife is a professional artist so if I think I am too, I would be totally off track just because I have fun with a foreign art form in my spare time. Having an art as a hobby e.g. doesn't make you an artist, and bonsai is not recognized in the west as an art. Maybe newer will be.
I feel more like an enthusiast that likes to deal with a piece of Japanese culture. Like all who makes a drawing or painting by no means are artists because the did it. The result makes a difference.

Some people approach me with the words “master”. Misunderstood and misused heavily in the west about someone you find good at bonsai. But it is a borrowed Japanese phrase and in Japan you must be something very extraordinary to deserve this expression.
Trying to develop Japanese bonsai culture to an art form in a western way will not be a success I think. It doesn’t match.

I think Walther called bonsai the most backwards looking art he ever have been in contact with, or something like this. At first I disagreed, strongly because I did not see what was meant with that statement. I only think of bonsai as bonsai, not as art compared with other art forms, or any labeling phrases e.g. I see so much potential and development in the bonsai culture, so I newer though as it as art in a western way.

But now I see Walther is right. Bonsai is an extremely limited art form if we compare it to western art, both in history or as modern art in Europe. Bonsai is bonsai the Japanese way or it isn’t bonsai. Penjing is Penjing or it isn’t. Like Aikido is a Japanese martial art or it is not, and it is not Karate or Aikido. You can’t make Karate e.g. into something else, trying to change it, because then it loses its substance. That’s how the Japanese culture is. It limits itself to stay and only expand very slowly and within its frame. Else it becomes something different, and the magic is away.
So, yes bonsai has some great limitations because of culture and history, but the world is wide open if we explore that area.

Bonsai will still show its qualities in many different ways, because it will be practiced differently from culture to culture, but trying to treat as a western art will be wrong. Bonsai does not have the western culture in its soul, so we have to understand the limitations to know the many possibilities.

Maybe the directions should be clearer by dividing the two ways of thinking and understanding, so we get “Western trees in pots” and “Bonsai”. Maybe, maybe not. Just some thoughts that cleared my own appreciation of bonsai. You don’t need to follow, just for the thoughts.

To add a little Japanese bonsai aesthetic to the thread, a beautiful Very Happy piece from Australian Ian Lawson who send me this picture a few days ago.
Still keeps me smiling.

Regards
Morten Albek



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Re: tree sculptures

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Thu Oct 28, 2010 8:04 am

Morten,

I grew up in the jungle, trees were great and towering beings. I live in the city now, I miss the great trees. I grow Bonsai because I like trees.
Years ago, I asked my grandfather who was Chinese, about little trees, he said -- "oh garden craft " , this was later repeated to me by the then Cultural Officer of China to the island. I also saw this in at least one book from China, with translations.

It has never bothered me that I have a hobby, which is - garden craft.

As was taught to me by folk on-line - what's the difference betwen craft and art - $$ paid.
So when anyone tries to push the art part, I get a little suspicious.

I am a traditionally trained painter so I didn't bite into the Modernist apple - Beauty is Truth unhidden is more relevant to me than - Art has nothing to do with Beauty.

As far as I know it the Chinese and Japanese [ or at least the Chinese ] prize their Calligraphy / Ink painting, Poetry / Classical Literature over all else. Much the same as the Western world does Oil Painting / Sculpture and Poetry / Classical Literature.

I am not sure why a hobby should also have to be an Art ?
Later.
Khaimraj

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Re: tree sculptures

Post  Walter Pall on Thu Oct 28, 2010 8:49 am

Morten Albek wrote:
Walther stated somewhere that art has to be ugly.

Thats a ridiculous statement Morten, and you know it. It is a gross misinterpretation of what I wrote.
I wrote that art has nothing to do with beauty. I have not invented this, it is taught at University art schools. If bonsai is art then bonsai has nothing to do with beauty.
This means that one cannot judge the quality of a bonsai by saying ' it is not beautiful'. It dos not say that a bonsai should not be beautiful.
If it does not have to be beautiful, what does art have to be to be art? Well, ask ten experts and you get twelve answers. One common answer is: it has to give an impression to the viewer and it has to be original.

Coming back to bonsai: the overwhelming majority of bonsai try to impress with beauty. This is absolutely not wrong. But it is wrong to think that that it has to be that way. There are other ways to impress. One can impress with ugliness for example.

And bonsai is an art form beyond doubt for me. And the majority of bonsai enthusiasts that I know would agree to this.
It is understandable though that we cannot find agreement if you speak about a craft and I about an art form.

You are ten years late with your fight for bonsai as a craft. I have the strong that it is common understanding by now that it is an art form.


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Re: tree sculptures

Post  Guest on Thu Oct 28, 2010 11:58 am

Walter Pall wrote:
Morten Albek wrote:
Walther stated somewhere that art has to be ugly.

Thats a ridiculous statement Morten, and you know it. It is a gross misinterpretation of what I wrote.
I wrote that art has nothing to do with beauty. I have not invented this, it is taught at University art schools. If bonsai is art then bonsai has nothing to do with beauty.
This means that one cannot judge the quality of a bonsai by saying ' it is not beautiful'. It dos not say that a bonsai should not be beautiful.
If it does not have to be beautiful, what does art have to be to be art? Well, ask ten experts and you get twelve answers. One common answer is: it has to give an impression to the viewer and it has to be original.

Coming back to bonsai: the overwhelming majority of bonsai try to impress with beauty. This is absolutely not wrong. But it is wrong to think that that it has to be that way. There are other ways to impress. One can impress with ugliness for example.

And bonsai is an art form beyond doubt for me. And the majority of bonsai enthusiasts that I know would agree to this.
It is understandable though that we cannot find agreement if you speak about a craft and I about an art form.

You are ten years late with your fight for bonsai as a craft. I have the strong that it is common understanding by now that it is an art form.


Hi Walter

Maybe I interpreted the sentence wrong: "On the black board it was written in capital letters:
ART HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH BEAUTY.And then the teacher said 'never forget this for a second if you want to be an artist'."
Sorry if you think so.

I am not fighting for anything Walter. I just share my thoughts about the subject. I speak about the differences between the way we perform art in the west, and the Japanese way relating to the art discussion going on. I personally dont feel I am an artist in that aproach, doing bonsai as a hobby. If others think they are artists, feel free. A little modesty is healthy though. Speaking freely about my thoughts of bonsai is also welcome I hope.

Best regards
Morten Albek


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Re: tree sculptures

Post  Karl Thier on Thu Oct 28, 2010 1:07 pm

love people, I'm sorry if I have a discussion on, "is bonsai art" is triggered. Sad
Personally try to make creative trees, many times they are more traditional and some a little bit abstract, as in this case. In what category this falls, I leave the viewers.
I also understand how important is a pot for bonsai, he is like a frame for a picture and supports the tree. In this case, I am also a little practical and prefer just a plain pot to the abstract tree and no stone pot or stone slabs.
I also see a special charm between abstakten trees and the simple bonsai pot, I hope your forgive me Wink (and my bad English) Embarassed

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Re: tree sculptures

Post  Guest on Thu Oct 28, 2010 1:17 pm

Karl. Dont be sorry. You did not trigger anything. This discussion actually started at another thread far away Very Happy
Discussions are enlightening if/when kept in a friendly atmosphere. People dont have to agree, but differences points out and opens the mind for new views maybe, or just confirms ones opinion.

Best regards
Morten Albek

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Re: tree sculptures

Post  Andrija Zokic on Thu Oct 28, 2010 1:26 pm

Morten Albek wrote:Bonsai is bonsai the Japanese way or it isn’t bonsai. Penjing is Penjing or it isn’t.

Who choose that? I think that this is only question of translation. If Kimura make something in Chinese style, he call that bonsai (probably???). Object is tree in the the pot, rest is freedom.

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Re: tree sculptures

Post  Guest on Thu Oct 28, 2010 1:41 pm

Andrija Zokic wrote:
Morten Albek wrote:Bonsai is bonsai the Japanese way or it isn’t bonsai. Penjing is Penjing or it isn’t.

Who choose that? I think that this is only question of translation. If Kimura make something in Chinese style, he call that bonsai (probably???). Object is tree in the the pot, rest is freedom.

Hi Andrija

I have not seen Kimura making Chinese styled trees. I have seen Kimuras bonsai which were inspired from Chinese landscapes, but still made in the more or less traditional Japanese bonsai style. And of course we can find examples of mixtures of these styles. One of my friends (Johnny Eslykke) is doing something I would descripe as a mixture betwenn Chinese and Japanese style.

Best regards
Morten






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Re: tree sculptures

Post  Andrija Zokic on Thu Oct 28, 2010 1:54 pm

Interesting:

"Beauty can be coaxed out of ugliness. Wabi-sabi is ambivalent about separating beauty from non-beauty or ugliness. The beauty of wabi-sabi is in one respect, the condition of coming to terms with what you consider ugly. Wabi-sabi suggests that beauty is a dynamic event that occurs between you and something else. Beauty can spontaneously occur at any moment given the proper circumstances, context, or point of view. Beauty is thus an altered state of consciousness, an extraordinary moment of poetry and grace."
Wabi-Sabi: For Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers
By Leonard Koren

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Re: tree sculptures

Post  Andrija Zokic on Thu Oct 28, 2010 1:57 pm

Morten Albek wrote:
I have not seen Kimura making Chinese styled trees.

Maybe not Kimura but some other Japanese bonsai artist ... Kobayashi do that I think.
If your friend mix styles that means that border between bonsai and penjing doesn't exist or is very thin.

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Re: tree sculptures

Post  Guest on Thu Oct 28, 2010 2:04 pm

Thank you Andrija for the interesting wabi-sabi description. The Wabi-sabi aproach is one of the most interesting things about the Japanese bonsai, and difficult to reach the full understanding of it. I hope to visit Kobayashi next summer, and look forward to see his work.
Regards, Morten

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Re: tree sculptures

Post  Walter Pall on Thu Oct 28, 2010 3:01 pm

Morten,

I think we ought to have a couple of beers together to clarify a few things. If we only agree that we disagree and still be friendly it is enough.

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Re: tree sculptures

Post  Guest on Thu Oct 28, 2010 3:11 pm

Walter Pall wrote:Morten,

I think we ought to have a couple of beers together to clarify a few things. If we only agree that we disagree and still be friendly it is enough.

Thanks Walter. Lets have those beers some day. Sharing views is far easier talking rather than writing. In writing ones views easily seems harsh without being meant that way. Lets have a friendly talk and have a beer some day when possible, agreeing not to agree perhaps Very Happy

Best regards
Morten

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Re: tree sculptures

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Thu Oct 28, 2010 6:41 pm

Morton, Walter,

in oil painting, it is a well know fact that History decides which painter or painting will withstand the test of time, but paintings are fairly permanent.

All this push to make Bonsai / Penjing / Miniatures tree whatever into art is a waste of time if as soon as either of you two die, your trees even if they survive in a museum or other, will change or just die. So will your points, with no examples to live on. Why do this to yourself ?
Later peacefully.
Khaimraj

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Re: tree sculptures

Post  Rob Kempinski on Fri Oct 29, 2010 3:47 am

Just to throw in a couple of points that have been discussed in this thread.

The concept of "Japanese bonsai" is interesting to me. The west has alighted on bonsai as the word to represent artistic trees in a pot. Yes it was a Japanese word but now its adopted in many languages and in the English dictionary it has a little Jp in italics next to it.

There is not one Japanese style of tree. Japanese artistic trees in pots take on a whole gamut of styles, presentations and techniques. While the west is very familiar with the highly stylized versions there are many other design approaches and many of types of pots in use. I've seen funky looking pines in futuristic white glazed pots and trees growing in coke cans on display. There is room for variety of expression even in Japan.

Also bonsai is much more than a craft in Japan. Consider the Kokuften exhibition in Japan: an exhibition of trees of amateur owners. It is a well known fact that many amateur owners do nothing to the trees other than show the trees when in fact the trees were styled and maintained by professionals. In many ways it is something like a cross of owning a painting and a thoroughbred horse that is shown and raced at the same time. This show clearly has nothing to do with craft but instead reflects status attributed to high quality art. The prices these trees command also indicates their status and relative worth as art.

As for the temporal nature of art - consider performance art such as dance or theater. As soon as the movement is complete the art is finished yet it is still an art.

Finally a comment on wabi-sabi and shibui. Not too long ago I was reading a September 1961 journal on Japanese architecture called "the Japan Architect." (Granted a bit esoteric but from the lens of 50 years later very enlightening.) In it there was a series of essays about the then current trend in Japanese architecture to design purely modern and "western" buildings. Yuichiro Kojiro said many western architects were lamenting the loss of traditional Japanese style in new Japanese architecture. The author said an unnamed Japanese artist remarked, half in joke, "Modern French culture will be preserved in Japan , and traditional Japanese culture will be preserved in America." He then explained that Japanese architects don't necessarily revere shibui as "it was a concept born of an attempt on the part of urban commoners of old, prevented by aristocratic oppression from living luxuriously, to find a sort of concealed richness. 'Shibui' implies, among other things, a protest against the luxurious beauty of aristocratic life.... In Japan we cannot ignore the inhumanity and subservience intrinsic in its historical origin." I have to admit, my interest in shibui has waned significantly since reading these old essays. In many ways shibui can be thought of as the Velvet Elvis version of Japanese culture. And in my mind this historical explanation has opened a whole door to practice the art of bonsai in whatever manner my experience, knowledge and creativity can conjure. The sky is the limit and there are no boundaries levied by some ill conceived "Japanese way to do it" even though I do like how many Japanese do it, but it is certainly not the only way.


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Re: tree sculptures

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Fri Oct 29, 2010 5:30 am

Rob, with regards to your comments on wabi-sabi and shibui, I have found these types of mix ups or misconceptions or twistings to be very common, when reading into history. It also very difficult to correct because you have to walk around with large open tomes and keep pointing to page after page.

Hu Yunhua speaks about Penjing in his book, and mentions the peasants creating landscapes, with the rich having tree Penjing. I do wonder when this happened in the past [ before 1900 ] as the poor / peasant tends to spend most of his time trying to survive and making children [ labour force.]

With regards to making everything into Art, well that's a Modernism, and Modernism hit Europe hardest. There are quite a few young folk trying to correct that today. Unfortunately, we are split into Old Master and 19th Century French Academics, but at least we can draw.
There was a time when people did their best - say a Dance - and it was enjoyed and remembered fondly. There was no need to add labels.
That would also be my response to you Fiona.

I wrote to Fiona that I had hoped to stay out of this discussion, because I a traditional painter and I didn't want to get into this - the modernism expressed here --- "ART HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH BEAUTY.And then the teacher said 'never forget this for a second if you want to be an artist'."

Is extremely negative, non-productive, and inaccurate.

It is beyond me how Walter, continued to create his natural trees or the philosophy to go with it and didn't just kill himself [ pull a Camus ]

This is the type of throw-back philosophy that took art to the pit.

Lastly, could the powers that be, cut out all of this talk and transfer it to an appropriate forum, it is rude to Carl.
Carl please accept my apologies for ruining your topic.
Khaimraj




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Re: tree sculptures

Post  Guest on Fri Oct 29, 2010 5:44 am

Very enlightening discussion and views on the subject (that may need to be moved elsewhere, because it is not about Karl's bonsai - maybe Karl dont mind? - or we can just start a new thread if needed).
And thanks for the regards brought to me from Yvonne Rob :-)

Regards
Morten

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Re: tree sculptures

Post  Jaco Kriek on Fri Oct 29, 2010 7:47 am

Morten Albek wrote:
Walter Pall wrote:Morten,

I think we ought to have a couple of beers together to clarify a few things. If we only agree that we disagree and still be friendly it is enough.

Thanks Walter. Lets have those beers some day. Sharing views is far easier talking rather than writing. In writing ones views easily seems harsh without being meant that way. Lets have a friendly talk and have a beer some day when possible, agreeing not to agree perhaps Very Happy

Best regards
Morten

I would love to be present at that discussion, as an observer of course as I wouldn’t be able to contribute anything meaningful, and sharing a beer of course.
Thank you for all the ideas which makes the mind think.

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Re: tree sculptures

Post  Karl Thier on Fri Oct 29, 2010 7:58 am

Morten Albek wrote:Very enlightening discussion and views on the subject (that may need to be moved elsewhere, because it is not about Karl's bonsai - maybe Karl dont mind? - or we can just start a new thread if needed).
And thanks for the regards brought to me from Yvonne Rob :-)

Regards
Morten

I can see that a discussion of art is more interesting than a discussion on both of my Acer.
Sorry my poor English prevented participation in this discussion.

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Re: tree sculptures

Post  Todd Ellis on Thu Feb 21, 2013 3:20 am

Karl,
How are these two trees doing? Do you have any recent pictures of them?
Todd

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Re: tree sculptures

Post  Guest on Thu Feb 21, 2013 4:12 am

Oh Yes! These were the type of discussions we had here few years ago...Coming from different directions but all were done with civility.
You can say somebody's tree is "ugly" without breaking their heart. hehe. Is there any chance that we can have these attitudes again?

Thanks Todd for this.

regards,
jun Smile

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Re: tree sculptures

Post  Twisted Trees on Sat Feb 23, 2013 3:35 pm

Walter Pall wrote:Karl, your trees are so incredibly ugly and unorthodox. They are in traditional and boring and beautiful pots. I think this is a mistake. They should be in ugly unorthodox pots or on stones.

How come Austrians have such bad taste?
Laughing

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Re: tree sculptures

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