Friday, 7 October 2011


It is a mother.  Giving birth to herself.  Constantly.  Endlessly renewed, endlessly reborn; it is fresher, more fertile, richer, with each passing year.  Hosukai, for instance:

From the age of six I have had a mania for sketching the forms of things.  From about the age of fifty I produced a number of designs, yet of all I drew prior to the age of seventy there is truly nothing of any great note.  At the age of seventy-three I finally came to understand somewhat the nature of birds, animals, insects, fishes – the vital nature of grasses and trees.  Therefore, at eighty I shall have made great progress, at ninety I shall have penetrated even further the deeper meaning of things, and at one hundred I shall have become truly marvellous, and at one hundred and ten, each dot, each line shall surely possess a life of its own.  (in Japanese Art by Joan Stanley Baker)

The madness of being alive.  Forever.  

Perfection impossible

the artist aware always of his mistakes

even if he must create them.

Never finish.  You kill it, once the act is done.

Art: the eternal dissatisfaction.

He is seventy three and he is walking around an old print; over the bridges, down to the bay, back up to the new town, when suddenly he stops at a doorway.  There is an orchid in a pot on the floor.   Its white petals a picture; it pulsates with life, and everything vibrates around them.  Yet the petals are silent and still; like carefully placed stones in an austere garden.  They electrify this dark and empty space, white paper windows to the far side.   They are bold yet simple and they have possessed this small place.  White flowers in a black frame; the artist before them.  It is a quiet doorway.  They have possessed it and grabbed it to penetrate it completely; yet nothing moves, all remains quite still; utterly silent is the scene before him.  A cat pops out, and walks quietly out of the frame.

It will be thirty years before he gets that right.  Perhaps he never will.

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