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 Post subject: Re: Classical Bonsai Award at 1st National Bonsai Exhibition
PostPosted: Tue Nov 04, 2008 12:04 pm 
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Walter Pall wrote:
I realized that there is no such thing as 'classical bonsai style'. Too many folks have radically different views of what is meant by this.


Ah, Walter, how refreshing it is to have an opportunity for a verbal brawl with you again - something I have sorely missed in recent years.

Of course there is such a thing as "classical" bonsai, in the same way there is classical and non-classical art of all genres. However, Mike's tree isn't classical bonsai, and that's where the root of this controversy lies. I shall explain:

The term "classical", when applied to artistic or creative endeavors, indicates that the work is composed or constructed according to an established and time-honored set of structural rules or principles. Bunjin, however, is a freeform style and therefor cannot be regarded as classical.

The correct term, which Bill should have used in the title of this award, is "classic", which indicates that the work is exemplary of a class or genre. The tree in question may well be a classic example of the Yoshimura ideal, but classical it is not.
.


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 Post subject: Re: Classical Bonsai Award at 1st National Bonsai Exhibition
PostPosted: Tue Nov 04, 2008 1:28 pm 
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Colin Lewis wrote:
Bunjin, however, is a freeform style and therefor cannot be regarded as classical.


Colin,

Would it be wrong to assert that although bunjin is a freeform style, where the structural rules of other styles do not apply, it still has a set of guidelines of different nature. While the guidelines for classical bonsai are formal in nature, referring to the physical structure, the guidelines for bunjin are rather qualitative, and have to do with the message. In other words, bunjin does not have to look a certain way, but it has to evoke a certain feeling (as an example, the feeling of lush exhuberance would not fit well with bunjin). So, yes, the guidelines for bunjin are of different nature, but nevertheless, they are age-old guidelines, which makes bunjin another classical creation.

And, by the way, if Mike's tree is a classic example of the Yoshimura ideal, and we assume that the Yoshimural ideal is part of the classical tradition, then Mike tree is a classic example of a classical tree :).

(sorry to butt in, since you challenged Walter and not me on this - but I hope you don't mind).


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 Post subject: Re: Classical Bonsai Award at 1st National Bonsai Exhibition
PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 12:19 am 
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Discussion on defining Literati style has been moved to viewtopic.php?f=15&t=2686

Please continue that interesting discussion there, while maintaining topic integrity here.

ES


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 Post subject: Re: Classical Bonsai Award at 1st National Bonsai Exhibition
PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 7:27 am 
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Location: Upstate New York
It seems that some are still struggling with Mike's Tree, demanding concrete evidence of its beauty.

The trunk is exquisite.

1) The movement in the lower portion is very subtle, but it is full of subtle movement.
2) The upper portion has movement which is strong and appears distinctly like "bone strokes" in calligraphy.
3) The entire trunk appears like fine calligraphy.
4) The trunk is free of deadwood and noticeable scars and so has endured much and yet healed itself.
5) The bark is finely textured and also has subtle movement like patterns.
6) The posture of the tree is that of an old person exhibiting the impact of years on this earth while retaining the will to live.

This tree is about essence. The more you look at it the more you may feel it. It is not perfect but it is pure.


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 Post subject: Re: Classical Bonsai Award at 1st National Bonsai Exhibition
PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 9:08 am 
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Location: Lancashire, England
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Last edited by Richard Patefield on Mon Apr 27, 2009 7:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Classical Bonsai Award at 1st National Bonsai Exhibition
PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 11:24 am 
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Actually, I believe you have 4 posts in this thread which suggest otherwise.

Your last one;
"Mr. Valavanis was talking about seeing the "inner beauty" that only the sensitive can see so I'm obviously looking for more practical considerations that don't include seeing souls, inner beauty and things not present".

You clearly are not looking for answers. Your mocking tone is a reflection of yourself.


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 Post subject: Re: Classical Bonsai Award at 1st National Bonsai Exhibition
PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 12:28 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 12, 2006 12:42 pm
Posts: 35
Location: Lancashire, England
.


Last edited by Richard Patefield on Mon Apr 27, 2009 7:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Classical Bonsai Award at 1st National Bonsai Exhibition
PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 1:03 pm 
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However, to your question about the need to have education to enjoy it, my answer would be yes and no. There are works of art that are enjoyed by most everybody, with or without education. But certain works of art take much more effort from the wiewer's part to understand, and therefore to enjoy it. As an example, a Rembrandt, Michelangelo, or any member of the Hudson school of painting is much more "approachable" and much easier to enjoy than a Picasso, Klee, or Jackson Pollock.

So art, in the sense above, is not quite universal, but rather an acquired taste. It depends.

Attila,
I would have to disagree with your notion that you have to understand art to enjoy it. You may have to understand it to appreciate the artists motivation but not to enjoy it. I do not think that a sculpture by Michelangelo is really more obvious than a Jackson Pollock. There are huge cultural and social not to mention religous and political cues to comprehend before you really 'get' something Michelangelo has done. The surface value may be less abstract than a Jackson Pollock but the depth is no less so. I think this applies to this tree - in my eyes it is a stick in a pot based only on the photos here) - to those that understand it, it is a beautiful masterpiece. An enormous juniper may be more obvious, thus more appealing to the masses, but the appeal is often the scale and drama of it not the motivation behind it.

I do agree art is an accqiured taste, but like wine/art/architecture/anything really - you can like it because you like it or like it because you understand it.

Just a thought
Euan


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 Post subject: Re: Classical Bonsai Award at 1st National Bonsai Exhibition
PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 1:46 pm 
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Euan Pollock wrote:
I do agree art is an accqiured taste, but like wine/art/architecture/anything really - you can like it because you like it or like it because you understand it.

Just a thought
Euan


Euan,

One can certainly like any art without understanding it. A positive emotional response does not need to be explained to self, or intellectualized.

What I am saying though, is that when we understand the work, it significantly enhances the expenrience of viewing art. This is why art lovers tend to read about art, study about art, etc. more than the rest of the population.

It certainly happened to me, that after I learned about a work that I didn't know what to think of, the "aha" moment made me more confortable viewing it, the puzzles became clear, and the message more profound. In general, humans tend to like more what they understand, and reluctant to accept the unknown.


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 Post subject: Re: Classical Bonsai Award at 1st National Bonsai Exhibition
PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 2:52 pm 
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Totally agreee. An understanding of the art will produce a far more in-depth experience of it - although people without the understanding are moved by various forms of art both positively and negatively. It is this emotional response that makes art the wonderful thing it is. A negative response to art - especially challenging art - is easy to come by without understanding (I always think of Damien Hirst cutting the cow in half!!). I think that the evocation of even a negative response means the art is doing it's job - challenging people. It is too easy to produce run of the mill paintings/sculpture/architecture/bonsai that follow rules, look like others, evoke no response other than a shrug of the shoulders and 'it looks fine' as a comment! These pieces do not move the genre on - you need the 'adore it' and the 'despise it' art to progress.

As sure as there are negative comments there will be positive comments about the pine in question - either way people right now are off looking at it, thinking about it, considering their trees and it - whether they liked it or not. I would think that American bonsai will benefit from this tree as people are now considering precisely what it has and it is something that has not really been appreciated here before. I imagine you will start seeing similar trees at events and they will become more and more refined and non-provocative.

I for one do not understand the tree or the spirit of Yoshimura, I do not understand it's relevance or it's context in an American bonsai exhibition. If I took the time to study the history of bonsai and this facet in particular I am sure it would make sense. I am in no way a hater!! I simply do not understand this tree - and do not think I ever will. This is what I mean when I say you do not need to understand art to appreciate it. I appreciate this tree in a negative manner and it makes me consider it and the implication it has for bonsai art generally. I think this type of appreciation is appropriate - whereas dismissing it out of hand as garbage or ridiculous is an inappropriate emotional sentiment based on ones own tastes. Some people get it! Potentially less constructive - in my book - is jumping on the 'it's wonderful because Master....... says it is' bandwagon!

Euan


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 Post subject: Re: Classical Bonsai Award at 1st National Bonsai Exhibition
PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 3:41 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 08, 2005 8:04 pm
Posts: 244
Location: South San Francisco, CA
This has been a remarkable ride throught the forest and mountains of bonsai. Darkness and light. Valleys and peaks. So very extraordinary.
Two of the passions in my life are bonsai/bunjin, and Bach. There are times when I am studying a bonsai, especially a bunjin bonsai, a Bach fugue will begin to resonate in the back of my mind. What does this mean? Maybe all the arts are related and live in some wonderful palace. From there they radiate out and grasp us.
Attached are the opening bars of "The Musical Offering" by Johann Sebastian Bach. Seems simple, but only a great genius could accomplish it. Inspiration for us much lesser mortals.
Thanks to all for your contributions to this thread.

Mike


Attachments:
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 Post subject: Re: Classical Bonsai Award at 1st National Bonsai Exhibition
PostPosted: Sat Nov 22, 2008 10:43 am 
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Hey Mark!
Maybe it wouldn't be a bad idea, to put better and closer pictures of canopy from 4 sides and from above. Who knows, if we see this tree better, we can clearly see why this tree was the best in classical category.


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 Post subject: Re: Classical Bonsai Award at 1st National Bonsai Exhibition
PostPosted: Sat Nov 22, 2008 3:48 pm 
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Location: Upstate New York
No .
That will not bring understanding. Those that do not understand and really want to need to study on their own.


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 Post subject: Re: Classical Bonsai Award at 1st National Bonsai Exhibition
PostPosted: Sat Nov 22, 2008 10:34 pm 
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Apparently the judges who chose Mike Page's tree were eminently qualified, attentive to the criteria and certain of their choice. It is also clear from the discussion here that three different judges, equally qualified and equally attentive, might have made a different choice and been just as certain of it. You could say the same thing about almost any judging of artwork. It seems to me to be subjective to the point of not being very meaningful - certainly not worth the acrimony that only serves to divide the most unique and extraordinary community of like minded people in the world.


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 Post subject: Re: Classical Bonsai Award at 1st National Bonsai Exhibition
PostPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2008 10:04 am 
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Mark Arpag wrote:
That will not bring understanding.

Why not? The picture on this topic isn't clear enough because it was taken to high.


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