Soumya Mitra wrote:
is'nt it a cardinal criteria of bonsai to create an illusion of aged, ancient, weathered battered. struggling yet living image of a tree?
To view a lush greenary I might as well look to pot garden, why bonsai!
I am afraid that the preconceived expectation that a bonsai HAS to represent nothing but the illusion of aged struggling tree is a serious hindrance towards achieving equal status amongst other fine arts. It is a very one-sided view.
If we percieve it as a craft, limited to one subject (namely the image of an old tree), so be it. In that case, we can create one old tree after the other, one straight, the next one crooked or slanted, and the third one twisted.
If we perceive it as art, the above restriction doesn't fly. As a form of visual art, it should be able to express anything
that has to do with our perception of nature. We can't limit the creativity of artist to one (group of) subject.
Don't get me wrong. I enjoy the illusion of an ancient tree every bit as much as you do. But if I see bonsai as art, I see a serious conflict in expecting
how a bonsai should look.
So, the artist may or may not be succesful in conveying the beauty of youth. The worst thing that can happen is when the artist creates a great piece expressing just that, but the viewer rejects it because of his prejudice or narrow-minded expectation.
This may sound like a rambling of rebel, but let me mention a name that may command some respect : Kyuzo Murata.
He was the official gardener of Japanese imperial bonsai collection since he was 30. In his book "Four Seasons of Bonsai
" (I just looked at it again right before writing this post) a large number of trees shown there are young-ish looking. Maybe the majority of them, if would take the time to count.
Doesn't he know what a bonsai is about? Or did he deliberately choose bad bonsai in this wonderful book?