Philip Knight produced the following graphic:
Archive for the 'Art' Category
On Nonduality Street radio, Jerry Wennstrom talks about the ending of his life as an established artist in New York City, marked by the destruction of all his paintings, what that act meant, and the life that followed.
He says, “With no money or job, I learned to be present with what came. Every imaginable experience came. I was present with each one as though dealt from the hand of God.”
Jerry Wennstrom’s website, where you may view his art, writing, and videos, is www.handsofalchemy.com
I have reproduced a portion of the article,
A modern-day alchemist melds senses of sight, smell: Dutchman Maurice Joosten explores aroma design, art
By KRIS KOSAKA
Read the entire article at
Special to The Japan Times
On the back of Maurice Joosten’s business card, a silvered phrase floats across the otherwise blank expanse: “Solve et Coagula” (“Dissolve and Unite”). For Joosten, 48, this ancient dictum of alchemy provides a motto linking his work as an artist, aroma designer and yoga instructor.
His sculptures flow with an illusion of nonbeing, aquae-vitae transmogrified into insubstantial solid; his aroma designs are engendered by sense, metamorphosing image and instinct to guide his creativity; his body relaxes into space, enfolding away matter as a teacher of Kashmir yoga.
Joosten may not be able to transmute metal to gold, but he is a modern-day alchemist-philosopher.
“I do now three different fields — art, aroma space design and yoga — but there is something that connects them: a search for the ephemeral,” he says. “The dissolving of boundaries is what somehow seems to return again and again in my work.”
“In the beginning it was difficult, even in Holland where there was a lot of state support for the arts with subsidies. I managed to survive with various side jobs.”
Joosten rented a small studio in the east part of the harbor in Amsterdam’s Havens Oost.
Four years later, his art again reshaped his limits: Joosten was awarded the Charlotte Kohler Prize for promising young artists and architects in the Netherlands in 1993.
By 1997, he was ready for yet another transformation: “I always had an attraction toward the South and Mediterranean culture, maybe as a Northern European from a rather Calvinistic culture. Not only the beauty of the art, but the whole culture, the naturalness and ease in everything.”
Although Joosten had been considering one of the classical cities, like Rome, after visiting friends in Turin he decided to move to northern Italy. “There was a lot of space available, much cheaper than in Amsterdam. My friend, an architect, had his own studio on the docks from the railway, built a hundred years ago. I looked at a huge space, a loft of 300 sq. meters, 20 windows on the second floor. It was the dream of every artist.”
Joosten lived in Turin six years, and the intensity of living and breathing only his art forced another morphing of boundaries, this time from within. “I don’t know what exactly triggered it, but I went through a sort of transformation. First I changed the way I was eating, becoming vegetarian, paying attention to foods — then I started taking yoga classes.”
His yoga teacher “introduced me to the whole world of nonduality,” he says. “It was a kind of treasure, to read the works of (French author and philosopher) Jean Klein, I thought, this is simply truth. It is not about religion, but someone who described reality in the purest way.”
His reality, now bordered with financial success as an artist, morphed once again. “In Italy there are many private art collectors compared with Holland, where art is more supported by the government, so I made contacts with lots of people in Italy who loved art and bought art — not just for work, but because they loved it. I could make a good living out of it.”
Soon after his arrival in Turin, Joosten started a collaboration with Studio Trisorio, a gallery in Naples, and in 1998 received the first prize in a nationwide contest called “Art and Design Competition, Light and Shadows.” Joosten traveled to various art shows with Studio Trisorio, and it was at ARCO, in Madrid where five minutes of Joosten’s time engendered another transformation.
“The fair was almost finished, and my gallerist had already gone back to the hotel. People were packing up as it was almost closing time. I was alone in the booth, when suddenly a Japanese man came in to look at my work. He said, ‘I really like your work, and I think the Japanese people would really appreciate it, your sensitivity.’ “
Joosten had no special interest in Japan or Japanese art at the time, but Fumio Nanjo, then an independent art curator who is now the director of Mori Art Museum, recognized something in Joosten’s work. “Now I understand, but at that time it showed me the universality of art, that there was something in my work that could resonate in Japan, although I had no conscious links to the country.”
With so many life changes, Joosten momentarily dissolved his bonds to sculpture. “It almost seems another story of my life, how to overcome all the barriers in speaking in another tongue. It has been always a major thing in my life. The apparent difficulty in understanding and making myself understood abroad has probably forced me to rely more on other forms of communication like through my art and fragrance design.”
Finding other ways to communicate, Joosten focused on teaching yoga and adjusting to his new life. He and his wife moved from Tokyo to Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture, “searching for more green,” and through a connection with a Zen monk in Hayama began teaching yoga every week.
Searching for a different outlet for his creativity, an opportunity emerged. “A friend of my wife’s was the manager of an aroma company, and they were looking for someone with experience in the visual field to make original fragrances for clients. Often you need to integrate the visual design of the interior or the architecture or even the brand image with the images that evoke a scent.”
Although Joosten had long been sensitive to scents and used essential oils himself, he was unsure. “I started with a few small commissions, and I learned a lot about the process, and became more and more fascinated. I like very much the connection between these two senses, reinforcing each other. You don’t see it, there is no physical matter, yet scent has such an impact on our being.”
Joosten started collaborating with @aroma, a company specializing in space design using scent, creating original fragrances, in 2006. Some of his clients include Honda, Sony, the Fujiya Hotel in Hakone, and apparel company SHIPS. In addition to concocting original scents — Joosten designed a line of native Japanese essential oils using indigenous scents such as yuzu (citron), hinoki (cypress) or hiba (cypress leaf) — he also creates aroma stones for use with the oils, and regularly checks the quality and availability of oils worldwide.
Returning to sculpture in 2005, Joosten’s work now flows between his small studio in Kamakura, his creations with scent, and yoga in Hayama. For Joosten, everything unites and dissolves through the senses into awareness and simply being.
“It may sound somewhat abstract or even mystic, but I think we all have similar experiences in our daily life. Standing in front of an endless wide-open landscape, lying in the arms of your lover, admiring a beautiful artwork or watching a lively dance performance: As if you as a person dissolve and become one with the experience itself.”
Read the entire article at
The Japan Times: Saturday, Nov. 20, 2010
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My motivation isn’t spiritual as much as artistic. What I do in nonduality is art. I’ve created nondual adventures such independent nonduality, a wide open list of gurus and realizers, nondual perspectives, the genre of cinema nondualite’, the independent nondual chat space, a daily e-letter, and street nonduality or the bringing of nonduality to the everyday level of life outside the Internet.
I’ve noted that many people like what I do and some don’t.
It is art, “the quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance.” I am motivated to do the art, not to save anyone or the world. If anything or anyone is saved, that’s part of the work of art. I am an artist.
Contrived: Ingeniously or artfully devised or planned.
Contrive: To devise, invent, design (a material structure, literary composition, institution, etc.).
The following is from the Oxford English Dictionary, showing examples of ill-contrived and well-contrived (bold highlight has been added):
1632 LITHGOW Trav. IV. (1682) 135 A loathsom contrived place. 1664 BUTLER Hud. II. III. 400 In Mansion prudently contriv’d. 1713 OCKLEY Acct. Barbary 2 The Houses are large, but very ill contriv’d. 1760-72 tr. Juan & Ulloa’s Voy. (ed. 3) II. VII. xii. 130 Most of the houses are of stone, well contrived.
My contention is that what is well contrived is known as authentic. The well contrived stone house noted in the quotation above might be known as an authentic creation and the architect as an authentic artist.
A statement by Nisargadatta is well contrived. It’s a house of stone. It’s perceived as authentic.
However, contrived is contrived. Why else would sages tell you to not waste your time reading, to not look for Truth in words? Books and strings of words are contrived.
No Sage or Master ever said Truth is found in art, in doing art, in reading a book, or in contriving anything. No Sage or Master ever said Truth was contained in their own teachings, words, or practices. Why? Because they are contrived. Beautifully contrived in some cases, but contrived.
No Sage or Master ever said to “be authentic,” or to “be your true self.” Why? Because there is no you.
So that’s why I say that even things perceived as authentic are nothing more than well contrived.
If you’ve never seen or heard of Ashes and Snow, it is unlike any other kind of gallery / show / event / museum you have probably ever seen. It’s all those things.
Read about it here.
The amazing art is spiritual in itself, if I’m a judge, and I’m not a great judge of art. It’s not spiritual in the sense of a guru uttering truths. It is spirituality associated with a fusion of artistic creation and nature.
It is probably easier to enjoy the videos, which links are found at the link above, at home rather than at the show.
Within the art exhibition itself there are kids running around, people coming and going, there were no comfortable seats, just tree stumps to sit on. Maybe you’re thirsty. Maybe you have to go to the bathroom. Maybe someone in your family or group is restless. Plus there’s all the other stuff you want to see, so you get a little antsy and want to move on.
Ashes and Snow is meant to be moved through slowly, like snow falling, ashes shifting, elephants stepping forward through water.
Your eyes are drawn everywhere since the overall architecture is part of the whole experience. So it was hard to totally absorb the movies. Yeah, better to watch them on YouTube. But don’t miss this Ashes and Snow if it appears near you. Right now it’s in Mexico City. I saw the exhibition in Santa Monica.
To me it was an art show taken to an extraordinary height involving architecture, interior design, largeness, exotic, artful, absorbing atmosphere. It was poetic, arty, and other worldly. There wasn’t much to say about it afterward. The gift shop was impressive too.
See Ashes and Snow if you can. If you have definite plans to see it, avoid the websites and videos and enter the experience fresh as you can. That’s what I did. I was walking along the Santa Monica beach and there it was. I had no idea what it was. I bought a ticket, went in, and found myself in a separate world I would never have imagined.