Vedanta from Art, Art from Vedanta

I was always passionate about philosophy and art.

Over the last twenty-five years, I pursued both these interests intermittently with varying degrees of intensity. The art that I reacted to initially did not have any particular theme or ‘ism’. It was instinctive and without any discernible pattern.

However over the last five years, I developed a tendency to like art, which had some philosophical import that I could recognize or relate to. I also began to overlay a philosophical concept onto an unsuspecting artwork in order to delve deeper into that particular concept. Connect the dots. Create a new concept, a new thought.One that is mine but fused with a thought belonging to another artist.I then began to put down these concepts onto paper so that I could see for myself how I felt about it with more clarity. Express my thoughts and concepts in a manner that would in it self become some form of a written art.

The process of writing, weaving a structure, rewriting made me feel like an artist. I was actually collaborating with another artist who was not even aware of his or her participation in this collaboration! Someone who has created a work for the viewer’s to enjoy and to make it his or her own.

And I made it mine.

I have also begun to create art that is entirely mine, an original creation. Whether it was the outcome of fusion with some one else’s creation or an original creation by me , philosophy was always the foundation and the basis for the creation.

Philosophy from Art, Art from Philosophy.

As most of us of my generation were, I too grew up reading Ayn Rand. Needless to say, she had a deep impact on me in my formative years. In the book ‘The Romantic Manifesto’, she describes the relation between the artist, his work and the viewer. On the emotion involved in art, she believes it to be automatic, and immediate, something that has an intense and profoundly personal meaning to the individual experiencing it. She calls this emotion as: “This is what life means to me”. Bringing in the concept of “a sense of life” she states that it is the artist’s sense of life that directs the innumerable choices he has to make from the choice of the subject to the subtlest details of style. What an artist expresses through his art work, fundamentally, is: “This is life as I see it” and similarly it is the viewer’s sense of life that responds to the work of art by an automatic reaction of acceptance and approval or rejection and condemnation.What the viewer is responding to, is: “This is (is not) life as I see it. The process of communication between the artist and the viewer is further explained by her as one where the artist starts with a broad abstraction that he seeks to concretize and brings into reality by means of the appropriate particulars, when the viewer perceives these particulars in the work of art, he integrates them and grasps the abstraction from which they came, thus completing the circle. She uses an analogy from the field of logic to explain this further; the creative process resembles the process of deduction while the viewing process resembles a process of induction. The book, I believe is an important contribution to the field of aesthetics in philosophy.

So when I react to any work and write about it, I am indirectly saying, “This is what life means to me”, “This is life as I see it”. And the “This” in my case is the philosophy of Advaita Vedanta.

The abstractions that the artist seeks to concretize and bring to reality may be something totally different, but through my eyes, my unique perspective, I take the artist’s reality back into my Vedantic abstraction. Similarly, when I create any work, the abstraction I begin with, that I seek to concretize and bring to reality is always a Vedantic thought, be it an assemblage through images and words or something physical.

Vedanta from Art. Art from Vedanta.

One thought on “Vedanta from Art, Art from Vedanta

  1. Great insight baba ! I have downloaded the book by Ayn Rand too. Ill try to read it !Ill be going on Sunday to meet Mr. Wang !

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