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artofbonsai.org • View topic - The Future of Bonsai, The Third Dimension
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2005 1:35 pm 
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John,
You are trying to divide what can not be divided. In order to show how well a tree is styled in all dimensions, you must show it in all dimensions. I believe the style should dictate the display and not the other way around. Why, after all, should we limit the styling potential of a bonsai simply because of the way it is displayed?
You challenged me to "explain why it is so important to consider multiple views, if you are only going to see one." My answer is why must we only see one? You are limiting the potential of your bonsai with the chains of traditional display. There is nothing wrong with traditional display, it has served us well and we should keep in mind that a three-dimensional tree can just as well be shown in such. However, a tree styled for one view only could never be shown in a three-dimensional display.
As far as space considerations go, I fell that designing bonsai to fit more into a given space is somehow completely missing the point. I must have misunderstood your intent here.
Again back to sculpture. While Mark was correct in stating that sculpture also has a preferred viewing angle, it must also be remembered that most sculpture is displayed so that the viewing public can walk around it. The same pedestals that sculpture is displayed upon are mirrored with the monkey poles we use. Mark states that sculpture has a front and I agree, but sculpture also has other sides, all as technically perfect and artistically done as the front. You can enjoy the artist's talent and attention to detail on all sides.

Will Heath


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I'm not entirely sure, but I think that perhaps some of us are laboring under the misapprehension that basic or classical bonsai styling of the branches is accomplished so that they only look good from the front. This might explain the need to champion the idea of bonsai being made to be nice from all angles.
But this is a false notion - that branches and such, in the classic form, should be created to look good only from the front. On the contrary, good bonsai technique is to make the structure "right" so that it looks "good," generally - and then viewed from the front will look "good."
A good branch is a good branch. The only reason that one might use artifice to appease the front view is in cases that cannot otherwise be remedied; like when a branch is too long leggy on a conifer and it is bent several times in order to visually shorten it. Or when the branch is pointed more toward the front to visually shorten it.
It is a simple fact that bonsai does need to employ visual tricks and illusion in order to achieve a high degree of communication. There's simply no getting around that. Sometimes those techniques are focused on the front view - and rightly so.
Otherwise, a bonsai should always look good from any angle. But this is true only up to the point where specific artistic techniques are employed so that the idea of great size or "treeness" is suggested. But these are, again, medium-specific techniques that are not bad, just necessary for our medium (like leaning the tree toward the front and angling the first couple of branches toward the front to embrace the viewer).
Barring these things, why not enjoy a bonsai from all angles. But the idea that classic or classical bonsai are made only to have good structure as seen from the front is patently false.
Kind regards,
Andy


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