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artofbonsai.org • View topic - Artistic Limitations of Bonsai
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 Post subject: Artistic Limitations of Bonsai
PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2005 9:42 am 
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This thread is for discussing Richard Fish's article, "Artistic Limitations of Bonsai."


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2005 7:31 pm 
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2005 12:48 am 
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Bonsai is not at all like sculpture to me.

A sculpture only has outside appearance. If I were to equate a horticultural practice with sculpture, it would be topiary.

Even coniferous bonsai have a very active inner life. In another thread, we discussed the virtues of showing deciduous bonsai in their bare state.
Is there a 'bare state' to a sculpture? I don't see it. A completed sculpture has only one state. A 'completed' bonsai, on the other hand, can have many. If not from season to season, then certainly from year to year.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2005 1:17 am 
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To me, in addition to sculptural elements, it also contains elements from the performing arts such as dance, and also from jazz.

That's because time and timing are to be considered, there is a lot of improvising involved (bonsai will never "perform" the exact same way twice), there are certain elements of the "scene" that have to be set, and there is life of course. And the work is continually evolving.

All the above are missing from a sculpture, but present in the performing arts.

So, as Charles said, besides its limitations, there are artistic opportunities due to the additional elements that the other visual arts lack.


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Last edited by Carl Bergstrom on Mon Mar 14, 2005 3:29 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2005 12:01 pm 
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Carl,

That's such an interesting parallel! Thanks for sharing it with us.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2005 2:51 pm 
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Reiner,

Sculpture doesn't have to be limited to something with an outside only. Consider some of the work on these sites

http://www.brucegray.com/
Click on the free standing metal sculptures. Lots on insides and outsides.
http://www.bathsheba.com/
very intricate inside and outside ? more so than bonsai perhaps.
http://holstengalleries.com/indexha.html?HA14
Since Carl posted glass art, check out this site. Lots of 3D in and out.

http://www.portofsandiego.org/sandiego_ ... /index.asp

And finally, sculptors that sculpt trees ? out on non-tree material.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2005 3:37 pm 
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TO call bonsai a distinctive art form shall be comprehensible if we consider the art form as subjective and objective amalgamation of visual and performing arts with a dash of literary overtone at times.

It could also be viewed as foster mother of all visual art forms!


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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2005 2:19 am 
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2005 12:18 am 
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I've just caught up on this discussion - and I'm with Reiner on this.

"Interesting, but just more complex outsides"

Precisely. A tree has a highly complex inside: a biological machine that must be steadfastly and expertly maintained. One slip and it could be total meltdown!

The changes that take place in a bonsai over time are, unlike other sculptures, a compromise between natural forces and the will of the artist - not necessarily the same artist throughout the life of the sculpture.

And is ther another art where the artist willingly and intentionally collects his own work and rarely lets it go?

Would it be fair to say that if bonsai is to be acknowledged as an art, it should not be necessary (or even possible) to compare it well to another art?

Colin


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 Post subject: Unique art
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Living in 'Living Sculpture' is the operative word. This definition therefore encompasses the comments made about complexity and organic nature.

Bonsai has much in common with many other arts but it is closest to sculpture.

So get your berets and start drinking absinthe. :)


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