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artofbonsai.org • View topic - Bonsai and the Ancient Art of Rhetoric
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 Post subject: Bonsai and the Ancient Art of Rhetoric
PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:15 am 
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This thread is for discussing Attila Soos' article, "Bonsai And the Ancient Art of Rhetoric."


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Attila, beautiful essay and very thought provoking. You have hit on a theory well worth pursuing. For if bonsai is to have a 'western expression' it has to coexist within the western aesthetic. Most bonsai practitioners have been (knowingly or unknowingly) adopting the Asian aesthetic. Plato and other ancient European scholars ingrained in us an aesthetic based on physical beauty, per their definition - youth, voluptuousness and athleticism. The Asian aesthetic, especially the Japanese takes a different world view and uses what they call wabi-sabi - simple and aged beauty or less is more. I really look forward to the serious effort to explore bonsai using this different aesthetic framework. I hope it leads us away from someone patently saying 'It is not a bonsai' to 'It is art!'


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Attila,

Thanks for the excellent article, I just finished reading it and I hope to have more to say as I continue to reflect on it. I agree with you, Rob that highlighting the Western tradition is important in itself.

Walter Scott


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Thank you for the kind and encouraging words from everybody.
But enough of the niceties.

I am very curious about what do you think of some of the ideas mentioned in the article. Some of them are proven to be true time and time again, but others have remained to be controversial.

I hope you don't agree with every interpretation that I made. I would be very disappointed if you did. Rather boring.

Here are some issues that are controversial at best:
Keeping in mind the audience when you create your bonsai. Do you care who will see it? Or you say: This is the way I want this bonsai to look and I don't care what you think about it. I am doing it to please myself and not you.

My take: I do care how people interprets my work. I would like to please them as much as myself.

The critic - Do you think that anybody's opinion is equally important, or only the expert's opinion counts?

My take: only the knowledgeable opinion counts. The rest of them need to be educated.

Truthfulness - should we represent nature objectively, the way it is, or it's more important to show nature according to our beliefs, in a subjective way?

My take: showing nature in a subjective way is the purpose of art. Reality doesn't count. I just hope that my subjective reality is close to the truth.
Original or traditional? - Are traditional themes boring? Should we try to find new subjects, or believe that the traditions are so rich and diverse that there is no need to try to reinvent the wheel?

My take: Seing the traditional themes in a new light is very cool. Once in a while it's nice to try something original, but don't hold your breath.
I don't care if I'm dead wrong. The most important thing is that the issues are addressed and hopefully the truth comes out.
Would you please disagree with me?


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