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artofbonsai.org • View topic - Thoughts About Viewing Bonsai
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 Post subject: Thoughts About Viewing Bonsai
PostPosted: Sat Feb 10, 2007 4:52 pm 
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This thread is for discussing Walter Pall's article "Thoughts About Viewing Bonsai"
http://artofbonsai.org/feature_articles/thoughts.php


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2007 12:11 am 
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"The viewer is supposed to concentrate on the visible and what he feels, not with the technique that the artist has used."

Here lays a common fallacy of the forums, to ignore the image presented and dissect the techniques used to create it. Too often bonsaists focus on the parts, so much so that they miss the image presented, the bonsai, which is, after all, the sum of the parts.
Incredible article Walter!


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2007 2:13 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts About Viewing Bonsai
PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 7:09 am 
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Instinctively most Bonsai enthusiasts reaction when looking at a Bonsai is "What is my value addition to this tree" or "How would I have dealt with this tree", or "Here is how to improvise this tree".

It is very rare that one would allow the tree to sink into one's senses and enjoy that feeling. Once that instinctive urge to Criticise goes, one can enjoy Bonsai better.

Walter : A very profound article indeed. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this article and many of your other articles. In a highly prejudiced world of "Japan Centric Bonsai" your thoughts come as a breath of fresh air.. Hope the world catches on...


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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts About Viewing Bonsai
PostPosted: Mon Dec 08, 2008 4:08 am 
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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts About Viewing Bonsai
PostPosted: Mon Dec 08, 2008 1:55 pm 
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"No great artist sees things as they really are. If he did he would cease to be an artist". Oscar Wilde

Katsumi Kinoshita is the guru of quercus agrifolia. He is an artist that understands how inner beauty translates to outer beauty.

I attended the GSBF convention where the oak in question was exhibited. It was, and I hope still is a controversial bonsai. They are the best because they inspire soul searching.

I photographed the exhibit and am posting the tree here. It was not respectfully presented, as an ancient bonsai should be. You viewers will need to sort out the tree from the distracting background.

Mike


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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts About Viewing Bonsai
PostPosted: Wed Dec 10, 2008 8:28 am 
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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts About Viewing Bonsai
PostPosted: Wed Dec 10, 2008 1:28 pm 
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Ravi says: "The world of miniature trees is far wider than the Japanese perspective"

Words that should be etched in stone.

Mike


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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts About Viewing Bonsai
PostPosted: Fri Jan 02, 2009 10:08 am 
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A commendable article in terms of the subject-matter treated. However, the writing, grammar, and flow of arguments could be greatly improved with proper editing. I am assuming that English is not the author's monther tongue, so critism on this front is not call for, but I seriously think that a professional editor should have been asked to clear up the confusing language, considering the article was actually published somewhere.

I have read the article twice, and I still think that the messages are unclear and contradictory. I might be missing the point, and that the piece was actually meant to be cryptic, but I don't think the author intended it to be such. So let's just move on and give the author the benefit of a licentia poetica...

In general, I was unsure whether the author was actually in favour or against the "Japanese bonsai establishment (JBE)" mentality when it comes to judging what is and what is not a good bonsai. I believe, in general, the author was against the strict codes of the JBE, and if so, I find it rather offensive.

I find it peculiar that in the western bonsai literature, the enthusiasts appear obssessed with the question of whether to belong to the pro-JBE camp or those against the JBE. This obsession to classify, categorise and then put one-self into that box is rather common in the west, and most of the time, healpful for discussions. I do it all the time as it is the essence of the practice of science. This will however collapse horribly when it is used in art where most parameters involved cannot be quantified or measured. So rhetorics that ensued from a rational and "scientific" approach to "understand" art, such as bonsai, then becomes futile as most arguments cannot be substantiated in a convincing manner to the majority. I do not see many Japanese/Chinese bonsai artists being so pre-occupied with how the west is interpretating bonsai, and rarely if ever, do I see virulent articles against the western perspective on the art... Thus the countless attacks against those that actually practice what the JBE preaches is rather distasteful if you ask me.

Although the author seems hostile to the way of the JBE, the author's own perspective and ideals seem strangely interwined with those of JBEs'. The virtue of the visible vs the non-visible raised in the first half of the article can easily be encapsulated by the concept of "ma" (間) that I believe, champions the beauty of what constitutes the "space"/"realm" between those that can and cannot be defined by words or expression. This was similarly treated in Tao de ching of Lao Tze, I recommend those interested to read the first chapter of this great work. As we all know, many great Chinese bonsai masters were influenced by the philosophy of Tao. So I do not see how the author's ideals and ideas differ from those that were already practiced for many centuries in the East.

I also find the notion that "naturalistic" bonsai being a more "modern" bonsai style emanating from the west a peculiar concept. From my little understanding of the "naturalistic" style, I think a simple stroll to the local book store to read about the concept of "wabi-sabi" (侘・寂) would be helpful to make one realise that the concept behind this style is the very essence of many Japanese art-forms. The oak featured in the article may not have shocked all Japanese grand master, I think... Appreciating obvious flaws in any art piece is of no foreign concept to Japanese people!

So, before any further future writings attempting to create further divisions between East and West mentalities, please do more research as you may come to a conclusion that we are not that different after all.


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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts About Viewing Bonsai
PostPosted: Fri Jan 02, 2009 2:48 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts About Viewing Bonsai
PostPosted: Fri Jan 02, 2009 7:25 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts About Viewing Bonsai
PostPosted: Sat Jan 03, 2009 12:36 am 
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A note:

This is an international forum and as such we encourage all to focus on the thoughts presented. Many of our members use English as a second language and although we do edit most of the articles presented here, some are posted as presented and some are edited only for glaring errors in order to leave the original flow and flavor intact.

We are always looking for good editors, anyone interested can contact me.



Will


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 Post subject: Thoughts About Viewing Bonsai
PostPosted: Mon Jan 05, 2009 3:18 pm 
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The viewer is supposed to concentrate on the visible and what he feels, not with the technique that the artist has used."
I liked the article very much but it did get me thinking……..
Does anyone else have the concern that I see in that ……….we design the tree (Bonsai) for the photographic “image” rather than for the tree itself. What I mean is that..... while designing trees one doesn’t worry about the potential image rather; one concentrates on a pleasing design and the “in person look”,…the 3D visual image of the tree on the bench, at exhibition (the sum of its parts). This later point captures the essence of a great bonsai but when photographed somehow the image cannot capture its true beauty.
Is it possible to have a great looking tree without seeing it in a photographic image? This is one issue I see with on line contests.


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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts About Viewing Bonsai
PostPosted: Mon Jan 05, 2009 4:03 pm 
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Graham. I have found that photographing my trees can be helpful in detecting faults. The camera can be both a merciless master, and a valuable assistant.


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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts About Viewing Bonsai
PostPosted: Mon Jan 05, 2009 5:16 pm 
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