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artofbonsai.org • View topic - Avant-garde Bonsai
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2007 1:08 pm 
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Great bonsai? A resounding YES! Avant-garde bonsai? I think not.
Mike


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2007 1:48 pm 
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I agree with Chris and Mike, I don't really see those trees mentioned as avant-garde. Regarding Boon's tree, I can easily imagine such a tree as part of a Chinese penjing arrangement

It's hard to imagine any form of bonsai as something that hasn't been done before in the history of bonsai.

When I think avant garde, I think about using bonsai in an entirely different context, such as combining bonsai with ceramic sculpture, or using very unconventional pots, something that doesn't fit in the normal definition of bonsai.

Another scenario could be if an artist consistently follows a certain pattern in his design, a pattern that may have only accidentally been used before, but not as a conscious and deliberate choice. Such a very unique style could be called avant-garde, IF it contains a new interpretation of bonsai. Of course this term could be applied only if the work is artistically successful.

Just because I start creating trees where every single branch has the shape of a corkscrew, and I keep creating different trees with corkscrew branches, will not make it avant-garde, unless those trees achieve some kind of artistic success.

So, the emphasis is on innovation, which is a very rare occurrence in bonsai.

P.S.: Now that I think of it, a bonsai designed to look natural and artistic from all sides could be called avant-garde. That's because it is flies completely against the basic premise, which is that bonsai can only have one front. Of course, in order for the artist to be recognized as avant garde, he would have to consistenly create these 360 degree trees, and not just one by accident.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2007 3:12 pm 
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Attila,
With all due respect, I think the 360 degree bonsai "controversy" has about as much merit as "avant-garde bonsai." What it boils down to is simply a reframing of good bonsai design. All great trees have depth and interest, and a lack of major flaws from all angles. That does not mean they do not have a preferred front. Witness Boon's tree again. My favorite way to examine this tree is from underneath, to see the solutions to wiring possibilities and challenges. But the tree is well-formed and beautiful from all around. Does that mean it should be shown from the right side? One would lose a lot of the fantastic movement of the trunk. Same from the left. And same from numerous angles the artist rejected, all for good reason.

But this tree was designed with the whole in mind, as are all great bonsai. It's a very poor tree, indeed, that lacks back branches trained with as much care as front branches.

In the same way, trees trained with the tree in mind, will be "naturalistic," or "classical," or "cookie-cutter," or "Bonsai by Numbers" (with thanks to Howard Smith), or "avant-garde," etc., etc., etc.
I don't see the controversy.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2007 4:49 pm 
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2007 5:48 pm 
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"In relation to art, it is used to describe a movement, artist, or group of artists which produces work which is considered to be breaking away from tradition and which steers art in a new direction." - http://www.csa.com/discoveryguides/art/overview.php
I would certainly say that naturalistic design of bonsai and the creation of bonsai that have multiple visually pleasing fronts is breaking away from tradition and is steering the art in a new direction. By every definition, Walter's creations are avant-garde.

Will


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2007 7:58 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: Avant-garde Bonsai
PostPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2009 2:32 pm 
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This is a good idea mike and one we are currently working on.


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 Post subject: Re: Avant-garde Bonsai
PostPosted: Fri Dec 18, 2009 7:31 pm 
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You might enjoy this blast from the past... http://checkvendor.ilevel.com/Compan...ations/Exhibit


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 Post subject: Re: Avant-garde Bonsai
PostPosted: Tue Apr 20, 2010 12:02 am 
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I've been working on this California Juniper for several years with the idea of creating an avant-garde bonsai.
I very recently received this Dale Cochoy pot especially made for this tree.
I would like to think that I've now crossed the line from the conventional to the avant-garde.
Time will tell.


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