Culture from Warriors' Experience


  • Culture
  • Music
  • Art

Question:

Théun, thank You for Sharing. Yes, the only 'substance' I can hold onto standing on my crossroad is my drop of knowledge I gained on the warrior's path. But at the same time I feel that clarity cuts my wings.

I never looked at Van Gogh in a way You did. His martyrdom and his intense energy was for me a proof that he is a true artist. I feel true piece of art as a window through which energy is pouring to the world endlessly. But yes, it is important if it is fully life supportive or not.

Renaissance sounds great! I am working with I Ching for many years. when I recently asked what is awaiting for humanity in future the answer was - Return (The Turning Point) to the right path, to light - a renaissance! I want to contribute to that. It is really what my dream is. I have to find new motive for service a.s.a.p., old one sadden me - it based on illusion.

Despite that art influenced my life from early childhood, I have poor knowledge of art. I had fragment courses of art history (visual arts, architecture, music and literature) in various educational institutions, where I had learned, but I do not see big value in this also.

I remember how my grandmother opens glass door of her bookcase and takes out album with self-portrait of Vincent Van Gogh. She is whispering to me that it is a great artist, but he was mad, he cut his ear off. I feel very, very strange energy coming from the picture. I was around 4 years old, and from that moment I got first message about 'true' art - that it is expression of weird world we are living in. It matched my general impression about life. I remember my dream, probably from the same age: I am in the market hall - a huge womb. There is a lot of flesh sellers shouting loud, offering their items. I fell lost in the crowd, I am scared to death. Suddenly barefooted man with white tunic and long hairs take my hand and take me out of the market. We threading narrow path in plain landscape. We stop before the huge ugly green head with open mouth serving as gate. People-like shadows step over teeth line and disappear in throat corridor; they wade in blood. I feel repugnance and fear. My escort release my hand and say: When you'll go through it - you'll be happy.

Later I found atmosphere of this dream reflected in Flemish and Dutch paintings of late Renaissance and Baroque. Especially in Bosh's and Bruigel's (the older) works. General feeling I got from those paintings is that humanity is lost in darkness. Greatest expression of this for me is Bruigel's The Blind Leading The Blind and the 'little' Tower of Babel. Some years ago I saw originals of Rembrandt in London. Unexpectedly I felt so deeply moved by his works, that wasn't the case before. I got irrational impression that I personally know those people he portrayed, that they are really living in those pictures. My attraction to dark world of Dutch art was resolved. In paintings of Rembrandt I recognized principle that You call Light Through Darkness.

You ask me if I am an artist, and if I feel passion for making films. Let me share with You my way to cinema. I started to paint from 14 years old. Later I was studying architecture in college, writing lyrics and singing in the rock band. Some quite big part of my spare time that was left from painting, rehearsals, studies, pornography& masturbating, I was spending in cinema theater. Because my father is cinema critic, I was introduced to cinema history, which is not so long:) I loved cinema, but was not intended to pursue carrier in it. Instead I prepared myself to enter Art academy, course of painting. I did it in inappropriate way. I just painted what I liked, but not in a academic way, what is required to enter the studies. So, I was refused by exam committee. They said not without irony: you are already an artist - why you need to study? The only one chance to escape my duty in Soviet army, was to enter television and theater school. I did it successfully. After that I gradually abandoned painting, and was very happy to immerse myself in the world of theater. But on the last year of studies I found myself in the dead end again. My rock group was declining, as my fascination with the theater. Then my father asked me: why you do not want to make a film as a diploma work? I had nothing else to do, and despite my conviction that after Andrei Tarkovsky there is nothing left to do in cinema, I grabbed the idea. Tarkovsky was my second 'art god' after Van Gogh. I became totally fascinated about making films. All those 15 years, that I'm dong it I felt some regrets for abandoning painting and rock-band, but I was sure that I have to intensifier my focus on cinema, in order to achieve results. Recently I found that my father's passion for cinema, the fact that cinema for us was the only subject to talk about, could influence me, emotionally immature, to pursue cinema carrier. I stuck in the middle of mountain in doubt that I am climbing for the right reason. I definitely was passionate about cinema. Now I don't know. I fell disillusionment about myself, not cinema.

But do You see from this that I was born to paint? We argued with my wife on this subject. She do not like that I call my painting a sacrifice to cinema. She see a natural evolution in my carrier; she say I must value that I have.

I am grateful that You see a purpose to give me guiding about culture and art. I really need to reconsider all my ideas and prejudices about that. Maybe You could recommend something to read about the subject?

Answer:

"I feel true piece of art as a window through which energy is pouring to the world endlessly. But yes, it is important if it is fully life supportive or not. "

Yes. This is true. But also do not get me wrong. For art to be life-supportive does not mean that it MUST be beautiful! If, for example, you look at the Black Period in the works of Goya, there is nothing beautiful about these paintings. In fact they are truly horrendous! BUT.........they are FULL of life, FULL of passion, and FULL to the BRIM with what you are experiencing right now, that is, the cross-road that every apprentice arrives at sooner or later! Likewise with the painting "The Scream" by Edvard Munch, or the sculpture of Maria Magdalene by Donatello, the sculpture of David by Bernini, and the Unfinished Works of Michelangelo. In these paintings and sculptures you can see the inner turmoil of the soul that is seeking for the deeper meaning within life, and the intense passion that in that deep inner searching can only be described as almost unbearable melancholy. But the works of Van Gogh have none of this. Instead he just comes across like a mad prophet, and all one wants to do is just to get away from him as quickly as possible. Whereas Goya, Munch, Donatello, Bernini and Michelangelo DRAWS one INTO the deep soul searching they were doing at the time, and there is an agelessness about these works of theirs that sends shivers down the spine as one can hear them silently breathing, "Your time is coming!"

"........I have poor knowledge of art. "

:) I suspected as much, which is why I asked how much knowledge you do have.

"Later I found atmosphere of this dream reflected in Flemish and Dutch paintings of late Renaissance and Baroque. Especially in Bosh's and Bruigel's (the older) works. "

Bosch and Bruegel were both wonderful artists, but also stalkers! LOL! I just love the way in which they paint humanity's folly with such humour! I can spend hours looking at their work and laugh my head off each time I see yet another aspect of their marvellous sense of humour! LOL! They were searching, yes, but their most valuable contribution to culture was getting humanity to laugh at its stupid folly!

"In paintings of Rembrandt I recognized principle that You call Light Through Darkness. "

Yes. You are spot on. But if you really want to know what the Dutch Masters were bringing to the world then you MUST spend a few days in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. The time I spent there opened my "eyes," excuse the pun, to a QUALITY of life that I could always sense in my own Dutch predecessors, but that I could never quite put my finger on. I found what I was looking for in the Rijksmuseum, namely, that QUALITY of life that is to be found in a very keen awareness of all the LITTLE things in life. I was blown away by this at the time.

"I did it in inappropriate way. I just painted what I liked............"

LOL! I agree that this is a shit way in which to approach art, ANY form of art. Any art, it does not matter what FORM it is, needs SKILL IN ACTION, and this can ONLY be acquired through ABSOLUTE DISCIPLINE, not only of the body, but also of the emotions and the mind! This is why TECHNIQUE is of paramount importance. Once technique has been MASTERED, then like in the teachings, you are no longer dependent upon the technique as such, for by then the technique has become merely the TOOL you use, like any other tool you may use, like a screw driver or a spanner. Once having reached this point, the artist CAN afford to start playing around with his technique, and he DOES do so until he finds what works best for him in his EXPRESSION of the principles of life. But until you are a MASTER of your specific technique, you do not have the skill and neither the knowledge with which to experiment with different approaches to your art.

Witness someone like Sarah Chang in performance. Few violinists can play the Sibelius Violin Concerto like Chang. The Sibelius Violin Concerto is fiendishly difficult to play, not just technically, but also in terms of what is demanded of the violinist. Sibelius had also reached a very dark period in his life when he composed this piece of music, searching very deeply within himself for what is the meaning of life. As a result, in this concerto the orchestra comes AT the violinist like a HUGE all-consuming WAVE of never-ending ASSAULT, and the violinist, as a soloist, has to fight back against the orchestra, and FIND within that struggle between him/her and the orchestra (life) firstly the PURPOSE of Life, and then finally, by the Third Movement, also having to put MEANING into that purpose.

The Sibelius Violin Concerto is FAR from being beautiful music, but it is also one of the most HAUNTINGLY poignant pieces of music that has ever been written when well performed. And there are moments when one's heart goes out to the violinist as the orchestra threatens to totally over-power and annihilate the violinist. It is for this very reason that few, even highly accomplished violinists, can play the Sibelius, for most violinists just become swamped and annihilated by the orchestra in this concerto, most especially if it is also being conducted by an unsympathetic conductor! LOL!
Chang, because of her formidable technique, handles this concerto with uncanny ease, and yet one is always left with the feeling afterwards that something is missing in her performances of this concerto. For me what is missing is that Chang relies FAR too much upon her stupendous technical virtuosity. This mastery works SUPERBLY well when it comes to her playing the Paganini Violin Concerto No.1, but it fails when it comes to Sibelius, for Sibelius demands technical expertise, yes, but also that the violinist has the necessary confidence to abandon technical perfection in favour of INDIVIDUAL expression!

No one can deny that Chang is probably the world's greatest virtuoso on the violin today, for her technical capabilities are mind blowing! But for me she lacks the ability of the true artist to MOULD her technique into what is required IN THE MOMENT within any one given performance.

"They said not without irony: you are already an artist - why you need to study? "

LOL! I like their sense of humour. :)

"I definitely was passionate about cinema. Now I don't know. I feel disillusionment about myself, not cinema. "

I have nothing against cinema, other than the fact that it can NEVER replace live performance. Films, as beautiful and as moving as they can be, lack the SPONTANEITY and the EDGE that comes with live performances. You just CANNOT capture on the silver screen what you can in live performances. And I can understand that you feel disillusioned by yourself, for in truth you have not yet truly followed your heart in terms of the arts. And now I am saying the arts, plural, rather than talking about any one particular form of art. And the reason why I have changed my approach is because now that you shared more with me I can see that you have not YET explored any one form of art in any great depth, and therefore you do not yet know where your heart truly lies with respect to art.

"But do You see from this that I was born to paint? "

:) No. Not any more. Now that you shared more with me, what I see now is a man in search of what truly makes his heart sing, but who has somehow, and for some reason, been guided to look for this within the world of the arts.

"She see a natural evolution in my carrier; she say I must value that I have. "

Oh, fuck your wife, excuse my French! She is talking like an arsehole that wants you to remain SMALL so that SHE can feel secure! Bullshit!

"I am grateful that You see a purpose to give me guiding about culture and art. "

My friend, it is only my utmost pleasure to be able to be of service to you in any way that I can be. But realise that you have VERY little knowledge concerning the world of the arts, and that there is also only so much I can do via email. In this email I have endeavoured to OPEN your EYES to but a FEW aspects concerning the world of the arts, and of how the arts relate to culture. But the harsh FACT of the reality is that either you have GOT it in you to be an artist, of whatever discipline this may be, or you don't! If you HAVE what it takes then your lack of knowledge is NOT a problem. Watch the beautiful film "August Rush" to see what I mean!

But no amount of teaching or books are ever going to make you an artist worthy of the name if you do not have the required TALENT to be one. It takes lifetimes to train a warrior, and it takes as many lifetimes to train a true artist. What people see as being child prodigies, are but the result of LIFETIMES of training in that particular field of human endeavour. When I was still actively involved in the teaching of the arts I would always admonish the teachers that were under my tutelage to the effect of, "The average child has to be TAUGHT! But we do NOT teach the child with talent! Talent needs to be GUIDED and HONED into fine precision, but no more. Try to TEACH a talented child and you will kill the talent!" I trust this makes sense to you. :)

So, my friend, what you most need to do right now is to search your heart. Take what I have shared with you in this email, and search your heart for what truly makes your heart sing. And then we can take it from there. Okay? :) The world of the arts is a magical place, but also a most uncompromising world! In a great many ways it is very similar to the World of Sorcerers. If you have the talent, it is a place of unlimited magic. If you don't have the talent, it is a most treacherous world which will kill you slowly but surely. This, as I see it now, is the crux of the crossroad you have reached. Do you remain in the world of the arts, and if so, what will you pursue as being for you a Path With a Heart? Or does your Path With a Heart lie elsewhere within the world? Which way should you turn? :)

With all my love and support,
Théun