Viewing distance in Bonsai.

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Re: Viewing distance in Bonsai.

Post  Walter Pall on Fri Jan 07, 2011 10:37 am

Khaimraj,

it is not up to the artist to decide how the pieces are exhibited in such a setting. There are specialsits who have nothing else to do than to prepare such exhibits. They are not really interested in what we think.
It was important that the trees in general looked somewhat decent from all sides which fortunately most of my trees do.
In reality it did NOT matter that the background was cars and such. Since the background was so far away it disappeared for the person who stood in front of the trees.
BTW, the BMW exhibit will happen again from end of March to end of September 2011.

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Re: Viewing distance in Bonsai.

Post  fiona on Fri Jan 07, 2011 10:44 am

Khaimraj has thrown some good questions into the mix - maybe like me he has no firm convictions either way and is looking for this thread to provide some valid answers. To pick up on a couple of his points:

Khaimraj Seepersad wrote: there is a difference in saying, Bonsai is sculpture, and actually applying the idea of sculpture to a tree.
Is there? Yet many claim that the major diffference between bonsai today and as it was in its early days (and let me make it clear that I'm talking about how it is in the west here) is that bonsai artists now adopt a three dimensional approach to creating a tree as opposed to the somewhat two-dimensional appearing trees which came about because early western bonsai artists only had photographs to base their ideas on. Is that not precisely because we are getting away from treating our trees like photographs.

Surely, by its very nature, when creating a tree we operate in three dimensions?

Khaimraj Seepersad wrote: the grower might not want too many seeing the weak sides
If it has "weak sides" would one not have to question why that tree is in the exhibition in the first place?


Another random but related thought to add to the "viewing" equation. We are now fairly used to the idea of a display of tree, scroll and accent plant, and I confess to quite liking this approach to display although I don't subscribe to the view held by many that it is the only way just because that's how the Japanese do it. But it seems to me that there is a discrepancy here: ever since I started doing bonsai, the mantra has been about depicting the tree's struggle against nature and its environment. Yet after we've done this we put it into a "display" where the emphasis is on harmony of the various elements - a harmony which can, on occasion, seem artifical and contrived. I'm leaving this thought at that - it is as yet embryonic and I will be interested in any responses it generates and I will approach these with an open mind.

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Re: Viewing distance in Bonsai.

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Fri Jan 07, 2011 11:08 am

Fiona,

on this side, scrolls and tables would most likely be unaffordable, or seen as frivolous. Plus isn't that going straight back to the 2d approach ?

Perhaps the idea is the tree can stand on it's own. We have had the cheapie display way from since the 70's. You know the white background, white covered boxes - we used them for pottery displays, think of your father of British pottery.

So if we take Rob Kempinski's response on Wabi / Sabi, where the Architects of the 60's explained that it was a poor person's attempt at less is more. Then perhaps the 3d approach is a response to the cost of tables, scrolls, and pots, being masked by the distraction of shouting--- Sculpture?

Hee hee, I will be putting up an image of what can happen when someone works from photographs. We call the result - Ladder Style - I was gifted with a 2d design of a tree last year, and now have to correct the rungs. chuckle.

Weak Sides - I have seen the Michaelangelo - Pieta - in the flesh and have the 360 black and white photos by Robert Hupka.
There are sides, and many moments - some strong, some weak, some average.
Perhaps the only perfect sculptures would be spheres ?

Interesting Chinese display pre-dates Japanese and there is a good chance somewhere on that silk road, some other's not recorded historically pre-dated the Chinese.
So are we possibly just re-discovering old ways to look anew ?

Lastly, our island soils are listed as very fertile, I emphasize --- health in life and joy in sunlight.
[ breaks in the bark, often lead to a quick death, i.e Buttonwood, there wouldn't be much to display with the speed of termite or wood borer dining out - ha ha.]
Khaimraj

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Re: Viewing distance in Bonsai.

Post  Guest on Fri Jan 07, 2011 11:09 am

I think the true measure of a great bonsai tree is in it's 3 dimensional form...those automatic rotating table will come in handy someday during exhibits.

regards,
jun Smile

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Re: Viewing distance in Bonsai.

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Fri Jan 07, 2011 11:14 am

Alas, Mr. Pall,

on our side, as things slowly filter down from Europe or North America, we too have entered the era of the Staging Masters [ to use a HGTV term.]

Looking forward to the images of the new BMW display.
Khaimraj

No, Jun,

walk around the display, too much convenience will lessen the appreciation of the work on the Bonsai.
Too much - Lazy Susan.
Khaimraj

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Re: Viewing distance in Bonsai.

Post  Guest on Fri Jan 07, 2011 11:19 am

Khaimraj Seepersad wrote:Alas, Mr. Pall,

on our side, as things slowly filter down from Europe or North America, we too have entered the era of the Staging Masters [ to use a HGTV term.]

Looking forward to the images of the new BMW display.
Khaimraj

No, Jun,

walk around the display, too much convenience will lessen the appreciation of the work on the Bonsai.
Too much - Lazy Susan.
Khaimraj


As Will said....Space/exhibit is expensive (something like that). A rotating tree on a mono chromatic curved background would help maximize the space.

regards,
jun
Smile

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Re: Viewing distance in Bonsai.

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Fri Jan 07, 2011 11:29 am

Jun,

it's a pride situation, plus I am speaking from essentially my island experiences. We use halls and the guys know how many trees can be comfortably seated in a given space.

As an elderly lady told me years ago - "son, always make them pay for any plant, it is the only way they will respect the plant," - I used to give small trees away and thought nothing about it. After that I just stopped, and also stopped exhibiting.

So if you exhibit in tight bank spaces or libraries or other, folk will begin to believe that Bonsai is a trivial practice.
Khamraj

* No we don't use the 3d approach, very few of the guys have any art anything and it is just too soon to make that jump -- in case you were curious.
Seemingly new ideas have to fed slowly, especially to guys in their late 70's.

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Re: Viewing distance in Bonsai.

Post  Guest on Fri Jan 07, 2011 11:36 am

Khaimraj Seepersad wrote:Jun,

it's a pride situation, plus I am speaking from essentially my island experiences. We use halls and the guys know how many trees can be comfortably seated in a given space.

As an elderly lady told me years ago - "son, always make them pay for any plant, it is the only way they will respect the plant," - I used to give small trees away and thought nothing about it. After that I just stopped, and also stopped exhibiting.

So if you exhibit in tight bank spaces or libraries or other, folk will begin to believe that Bonsai is a trivial practice.
Khamraj

* No we don't use the 3d approach, very few of the guys have any art anything and it is just too soon to make that jump -- in case you were curious.
Seemingly new ideas have to fed slowly, especially to guys in their late 70's.


...That old lady is very wise but ill mannered. Don't take her advice, follow the right path my friend Evil or Very Mad Evil or Very Mad

...i really want to see a rotating 3-D display someday. That would be modern enough I guess...hmmm!

regards,
jun Smile

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Re: Viewing distance in Bonsai.

Post  fiona on Fri Jan 07, 2011 12:08 pm

Khaimraj Seepersad wrote: ...on this side, scrolls and tables would most likely be unaffordable, or seen as frivolous. Plus isn't that going straight back to the 2d approach
precisely my point in my original post.

Khaimraj Seepersad wrote: Weak Sides - I have seen the Michaelangelo - Pieta - in the flesh and have the 360 black and white photos by Robert Hupka. There are sides, and many moments - some strong, some weak, some average.
Perhaps the only perfect sculptures would be spheres ?
As have I, and many more similar "great" sculptures. But what are you talking about here though Khaimraj - the technical weaknesses in the artist's sculpting skill or the imperfections in the original "models" that he has recreated? Is a sculpture of a human body to be presented "warts and all" or does the sculptor idealise it somehow? (if so, that poor David was somewhat shortchanged in one particular department silent ) It does rather lead us to the parallel in bonsai of the topic that appears so often on here of the "naturalistic" versus the "stylised/idealised" bonsai. When I suggested that an "imperfect" tree should not be in an exhibition I was talking about technical weaknesses of the styling process not any perceived weakness of the style itself. To me it makes little difference whether the tree is in the naturalistic style or whether it has, as Jim Lewis might say, spent too long in the hairdresser getting coiffured, if the tree has weaknesses brought about by poor application of technique then you'd question why it was in an exhibition.


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Re: Viewing distance in Bonsai.

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Fri Jan 07, 2011 12:41 pm

Oh, I see Fiona,

apologies, I was thinking purely as an artist. Weaknesses, would be in areas of design that are not as attractive. So the front might have a great deal of effort appled to the - for example - negative/ positive spaces [ leaf mass or area for the birds to fly through ] and as the tree is seen from the side, the spaces may not be as attractive, or the trunk may have an ugly scar or root not quite where it should be and so on.

All trees are trees.

As usual this depends on the observer and the mindset of the creator, opinions as usual.

Ha ha, actually David, if you use the typical teenager, is quite normal, where the body is out of sync, until say the age of 25 or so. I have had so many hours of observing/drawing nudes and many different races, if I might wax on as a painter.

I tend to work on the one glance bit - if it doesn't say I have something interesting about me, studying intensely isn't often going to do much more. So if it says tree or design, it should at least grab the attention.
As usual, sometimes things are so new to the eye, they have to be explained or they can grow on you.
At the same time if too many words are needed, it isn't art.

Isn't the world of art as clear as mud - chuckle.
Khaimraj

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Re: Viewing distance in Bonsai.

Post  fiona on Fri Jan 07, 2011 1:08 pm

Khaimraj Seepersad wrote: Ha ha, actually David, if you use the typical teenager, is quite normal ... sometimes things .... can grow on you
David tells me he is now sufficiently reassured. Cool





Sorry, lowering the tone of the thread but couldn't resist. Evil or Very Mad

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Re: Viewing distance in Bonsai.

Post  JimLewis on Fri Jan 07, 2011 1:44 pm

A rotating tree on a mono chromatic curved background would help maximize the space.

Oh, yuk! Next we'll have dancing trees.

Bonsai have (almost by definition) a front and a back that was selected by the creator/sculptor/"artist" so why on earth do we want to see the back? So we can second guess the person who made it? The tree should stand or fall on the designed angle of view. If we someday become the owner, we can feel free to change the view. Then someone can judge us.

As for viewing distance, as others here have said, it fully depends on what the viewer wants from the viewing. Personally, I like to peer in at the details, but I have seen few shows that do not allow the room to step back 4 or 5 feet to take in the overall picture. If there isn't that room, maybe the show has too many trees. Volume doesn't necessarily make a great show.

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Re: Viewing distance in Bonsai.

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Fri Jan 07, 2011 2:04 pm

Jim,

by habit, I tend to look for individual trees, standing alone. I also walk around what I am looking at, looking from a distance where I can see a tree in one glance or getting up close to see the bark, looking up into the branches, and rarely, climbing into the tree.

It prevents what we call in painting - painting at a subject - this prevents me from just taking snapshots from the car window. I am just weird.

Fiona, a little levity now and then is appreciated by the wisest of men. Plus, trees often have to age 25 to 50 years to exhibit durablity, until then the wood is too soft to be of any real use.... as bonsai goes Smile
Until
Khaimraj [ who until 16 was just 5' 0", now 5' 10+" but was going bald at 14, just like his Scotch Gramps. ]


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Re: Viewing distance in Bonsai.

Post  Hans van Meer. on Fri Jan 07, 2011 2:20 pm

Hi everybody,
here is my humble opinion about being able to walk around Bonsai at a Bonsai exhibition.
I remember the Concert for Diana in 2007 that was held at the then new Wembley Stadium in London. The 4Th act of Tsjaikovski's beautiful Swan Lake for ballet was preformed live on that immense stage. Cameras were filming it from all sides and angles. There were even cameras flying over the heads of the dancers! Just look at this next clip and see how this masterpiece that was ones created to be viewed from the front side, is turned into a bunch of people running around like chickens with out head! These top artist and their moves are beautiful from all sides, but what they are expressing for us to enjoy and understand, should be seen from just one side, the front! I have been to 4 Pink Floyd concerts and I am glad that I was able to see them preform from the frontside! Just like they intended when they designed their stage show for use to enjoy!
The audience at any serious Bonsai show should be able to see the Bonsai in the same way as the artist intended when he styled it. How else can they appreciate what he is trying to express trough his creation? And if some one brings in a tree designed to be seen from all sides, there should be a space to do that as well.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-GhXa2wTgfY

It still is like I have sad many years ago on a other forum: My wife is beautiful from all sides! But I sure ass hell know were her frontside is!
Just my half Euro!
Cheers,
Hans van Meer.

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Re: Viewing distance in Bonsai.

Post  Walter Pall on Fri Jan 07, 2011 2:50 pm

Some seem to not realize that there are a lot of bonsai artists around the world by now who try very hard to make their trees look good from all sides, to create living tree sculptures. For them it is obvious that their trees will be seen from all sides eventually.

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Re: Viewing distance in Bonsai.

Post  dorothy7774 on Fri Jan 07, 2011 3:11 pm

Walter Pall wrote:Some seem to not realize that there are a lot of bonsai artists around the world by now who try very hard to make their trees look good from all sides, to create living tree sculptures. For them it is obvious that their trees will be seen from all sides eventually.

Totally agree. I do not believe that any of the Kokofu trees has an "unfinished" or faulty back for example just because they are only showing the front of the trees. A bonsai should be "finished" from all sides, wether you are only showing the front or make the tree accessible to a 360 view. If you think that judges do not peak to see the back of a tree, you are mistaken. If you have to "hide" the back of a tree, the tree is simply not ready to be shown ("instant bonsai" comes to mind).
Being able to show a tree from all sides not only lifts the quality of the material on a whole other level of artistry but also requires very individual attention to growing such a tree. Viewing the tree 360 adds another dimension and should be a requirement for any world class bonsai.

-dorothy

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Re: Viewing distance in Bonsai.

Post  Hans van Meer. on Fri Jan 07, 2011 3:18 pm

[quote="Hans van Meer."]
The audience at any serious Bonsai show should be able to see the Bonsai in the same way as the artist intended when he styled it. How else can they appreciate what he is trying to express trough his creation? And if some one brings in a tree designed to be seen from all sides, there should be a space to do that as well.
quote]

Just to make sure that the above part off my post comes over to everybody!
Any ART form, should in the first place, be viewed in the way that the artist intended it to been seen!

Cheers,
Hans van Meer.

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Re: Viewing distance in Bonsai.

Post  Walter Pall on Fri Jan 07, 2011 3:21 pm

Well you then better start realizing that in just about every normal bonsai garden the trees are seen from most sides if not from all. People will not care what your intentions were if what they see looks like crap.

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Re: Viewing distance in Bonsai.

Post  Rob Kempinski on Fri Jan 07, 2011 3:27 pm

Walter Pall wrote:Well you then better start realizing that in just about every normal bonsai garden the trees are seen from most sides if not from all. People will not care what your intentions were if what they see looks like crap.

Very true. I rarely get to see my trees only from the front and what about as you walk around and approach a tree, the viewing distance changes and so does the viewing angle. A tree probably has a view that looks best and that could be the front but the other views should look respectable.

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Re: Viewing distance in Bonsai.

Post  dorothy7774 on Fri Jan 07, 2011 3:29 pm

Besides, displaying a tree in a 360 view does not mean you can not clearly define the "front" of the tree, if desired - unless the tree was bare rooted.. Very Happy

-dorothy

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Re: Viewing distance in Bonsai.

Post  Guest on Fri Jan 07, 2011 3:33 pm

JimLewis wrote:
A rotating tree on a mono chromatic curved background would help maximize the space.

Oh, yuk! Next we'll have dancing trees.

Bonsai have (almost by definition) a front and a back that was selected by the creator/sculptor/"artist" so why on earth do we want to see the back? So we can second guess the person who made it? The tree should stand or fall on the designed angle of view. If we someday become the owner, we can feel free to change the view. Then someone can judge us.

As for viewing distance, as others here have said, it fully depends on what the viewer wants from the viewing. Personally, I like to peer in at the details, but I have seen few shows that do not allow the room to step back 4 or 5 feet to take in the overall picture. If there isn't that room, maybe the show has too many trees. Volume doesn't necessarily make a great show.


Oh, double Yuk!!
If one cannot create a tree modeled from a living tree meaning beautiful from all angles and looking like a tree, I think that person and his display will rely more on the beauty of his stand and scroll or accent plant and will always be hoping that the accent will give justice to his inefficiency to create a real looking tree. better yet, put a picture of a tree in a stand with a scroll on the side.

regards,
jun


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Re: Viewing distance in Bonsai.

Post  Hans van Meer. on Fri Jan 07, 2011 3:37 pm

dorothy7774 wrote:
Walter Pall wrote:Some seem to not realize that there are a lot of bonsai artists around the world by now who try very hard to make their trees look good from all sides, to create living tree sculptures. For them it is obvious that their trees will be seen from all sides eventually.

Totally agree. I do not believe that any of the Kokofu trees has an "unfinished" or faulty back for example just because they are only showing the front of the trees. A bonsai should be "finished" from all sides, wether you are only showing the front or make the tree accessible to a 360 view. If you think that judges do not peak to see the back of a tree, you are mistaken. If you have to "hide" the back of a tree, the tree is simply not ready to be shown ("instant bonsai" comes to mind).
Being able to show a tree from all sides not only lifts the quality of the material on a whole other level of artistry but also requires very individual attention to growing such a tree. Viewing the tree 360 adds another dimension and should be a requirement for any world class bonsai.

-dorothy

Dear Dorothy,
I am sure you know that I also understand and believe that any world class Bonsai is beautiful from all sides. Those other side that are not seen at first glance from the front, are partly the reason that these trees are such a beautiful Bonsai from the front side. So I hope you understand that I was not promoting instant bonsai, quite the opposite. Most world class bonsai are styled with a clear frond and should be seen from that side to appreciate the vision of the artist that styled at in that manor. It would be perfectly alright to show those trees on turntables after they are shown in there designed way as the artist intended.
But I believe that it should always be the artist choice just how he wants his bonsai to be seen!
Cheers,
Hans van Meer.

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Re: Viewing distance in Bonsai.

Post  Walter Pall on Fri Jan 07, 2011 3:41 pm

If you insist in 'the artist's choice' you better never expose your trees to folks who professionally exhibt art. They don't give a d..n what your choice is. You deliver the object and they exhibit it. Period.

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Re: Viewing distance in Bonsai.

Post  fiona on Fri Jan 07, 2011 3:49 pm

JimLewis wrote: Volume doesn't necessarily make a great show.
In my experience, volume seldom makes a good show, whether that be trees crowded into one exhibit or far too many trees in the overall show. If you ever attend the standard British flower show bonsai classes (pauses to set up the very well-worn record) then you have a jumble sale appearance - tables full of trees all stacked (not arranged) closely together. But then again, I have been to supposedly "quality" exhibitions where the artist has paid painstaking attention to making his/her displayed tree look the best it can only to find that the show manager had upset the placement in order to cram in another few trees. In both cases what is achieved is a diminution of the effect of individual trees. In the worst British flower show displays, I have seen some lovely swans being reduced to ugly ducklings because you, almost literally, couldn't see the wood for the trees.

But to return to the matter in hand: if, as seems to be the case, most are agreed that all-round viewing is a good thing, why then are we not doing more of it? Is it really just down to lack of space or is it back to the old "that's the way we've always done it" reason? If we want it to happen, then why don't we make it so?

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Re: Viewing distance in Bonsai.

Post  Hans van Meer. on Fri Jan 07, 2011 3:52 pm

Walter Pall wrote:If you insist in 'the artist's choice' you better never expose your trees to folks who professionally exhibt art. They don't give a d..n what your choice is. You deliver the object and they exhibit it. Period.

I am not that media horny Walter, so I would never shown my trees in that way!

Hans.


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Re: Viewing distance in Bonsai.

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