European Spruce #39

AlainK

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Bonsoir Walter,

Entschuldigenen sie mir biitte, excuse mon outrecuidance, mais :

I find the jin on the left is too straight:
-- 1/ bend it, (you know the technique(s))
-- 2/ cut it: either totally or partially.

Such dead wood catches the sight, it's not really interesting, and has no graphic relationship with the rest of the tree which is very "rounded".

To me, it's a fault of taste (une faute de goût)

I'm sure you can understand that my critique is loaded with other cultural references than yours, though 999.98..% are much the same ;)

No, definitely: the live tree has curves, the "jin", to me,, looks like "a hair in the soup"... :oops::oops::oops:
 

Walter Pall

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Alain, I understand what you mean. This is a statement: the day of subtle literati are over. The rule that it has to be subtle is dated. The jin is aggressive, dominant. It should be It is modern literati. one gets used to it. You are judging this tree with rules which don't apply here.

The answer must be: 'yes, understood, but the rules of aesthetics do apply - always'. True, but looking at the history of art aesthetics is a moving target. What is aesthetically main stream will soon become old fashioned and then even ugly. After a long time it will be appreciated again. If bonsai is an art form this will happen.

'But a bonsai at least must be beautiful!' No, not at all it must be impressive. You can impress with ugliness, with aggressiveness.

New concept. You get used to it.
 

MichaelS

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. It should be It is modern literati. one gets used to it. You are judging this tree with rules which don't apply here.
.
Then you cannot call it literati. There is no such thing as ''modern literati'' and there are no real ''rules'' either. There are only successful ones and non successful ones. Most ''literati'' Japanese or not, are not successful. They are done to a formula just like this one. And that does no work. It does not have anything to do with the shape of the tree. It is almost impossible to design one in a conscious way by sitting in front of it and shaping it. They just happen by accident. Wiring is usually the worst thing you can do to them.
 
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MichaelS

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Ok Walter, but you used the word literati. What does it mean to you? Personally I don't like using a word to mean something else because the original word loses all meaning. For example in the ''art world'' they use the word abstract a lot. It has become arbitrary. Abstract originally meant something abstruse (difficult to understand) and something non - representative. Now because they don't know what to call something, they call it abstract and the word no longer has much meaning. It can mean almost anything so now means nothing. They call Picasso abstract but actually it is not abstruse and it is completely representational, so it's not abstract to me. A Pollock would be abstract for example. Same with the literati. Just because someone is an artist does not give them the right to alter the meaning of a word in my opinion. Make up a new one instead.
 

Walter Pall

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Whether someone had the right to define and alter the meaning of terms only history can show. It is also a question of power. It makes a big difference who says something. With hindsight there was always someone who said it before. But he never made an impact. He who makes that impact changes the world a bit and therefore has the right to do it. 'Give them the right' - sure I have the right to define and redefine terms. Why? Because people are listening to me.

It would not be the first time in the bonsai art that I have given a term a new meaning and that is here to stay.
 

Djtommy

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It looks very nice from the different angles, I actually like the back more then the front. It feels more dynamic somehow, on the picture anywayz. The Jin Alain is talking about doesn’t bother me at all though but I’m not sure what you mean by modern literati actually, I’m making myself a twin trunk spruce literati, how about that for modern?
 

Walter Pall

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It looks very nice from the different angles, I actually like the back more then the front. It feels more dynamic somehow, on the picture anywayz. The Jin Alain is talking about doesn’t bother me at all though but I’m not sure what you mean by modern literati actually, I’m making myself a twin trunk spruce literati, how about that for modern?
This is not enough to make it modern. To understand modern one first has to understand traditional.

In a nutshell a literati bonsai is a slim tall tree which has a lot of character and obviously is very old. It is old enough to not care any more about others. Therefore it does not show off. Deadwood d and curves are subtle. Understatement is the name of the game Usually it looks quite natural.

Modern literati is more the opposite, a slim old tree which wants so impress, it has lots of curves often bizarre curves. It often has lots of deadwood , sometimes fancy deadwood. It wants to impress the viewer, it can be aggressive. Subtle and modest it is not. Often it does not look natural, while very impressive.
 

Djtommy

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This is not enough to make it modern. To understand modern one first has to understand traditional.

In a nutshell a literati bonsai is a slim tall tree which has a lot of character and obviously is very old. It is old enough to not care any more about others. Therefore it does not show off. Deadwood d and curves are subtle. Understatement is the name of the game Usually it looks quite natural.

Modern literati is more the opposite, a slim old tree which wants so impress, it has lots of curves often bizarre curves. It often has lots of deadwood , sometimes fancy deadwood. It wants to impress the viewer, it can be aggressive. Subtle and modest it is not. Often it does not look natural, while very impressive.
Ok, now I understand what you mean. In that case mine will indeed not be modern as it will be more subtle/ feminine then impressive. That’s more the way I tend to style my trees. But I do like strong impressive trees as well.
 

AlainK

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All right, another version of "Give a dog a bad name and hang him".

Here, it's "Give your tree a new name and praise it"

Walter, I understand you're proud to show this tree and right you are.

You want it to be referred to as "modern literati"? That's fine with me.

But I still think that this "jin" looks like an unexpected, out of place horny fead organ of some sort.

Whatever you call it, I think you've accustomed us to much, much better.

Of course I understand what you mean by sthg like "art is on the way, amateurs should be able to see a long way ahead".

I still think that jin is too straight, or too small, or not big enough for a coherent equilibrium, balance, etc. between the diffrent parts.

Ich hoffe du nicht memts es nicht schecht, or sthg, my German's so bad.

I hope my comment won't hurt you. You know I respect you and your work, I learnt a lot from you in terms of "design" or "aesthetics", or whatever you can call it.

This time, the apprentice doesn't share the same view as the master.

But what's a tree? What is the tree we can see?...

We all have different ways of seeing things, people and trees. We're the fruit of our differences, and being able, allowed to speak frankly is a sign we can all evolve, can't we?

Ikh stey unter a -----boym :)

Alain K.
 
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MichaelS

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Whether someone had the right to define and alter the meaning of terms only history can show. It is also a question of power. It makes a big difference who says something. With hindsight there was always someone who said it before. But he never made an impact. He who makes that impact changes the world a bit and therefore has the right to do it. 'Give them the right' - sure I have the right to define and redefine terms. Why? Because people are listening to me.

It would not be the first time in the bonsai art that I have given a term a new meaning and that is here to stay.
Yes, you do have the ''right'' to change the meaning of words of course, (there is no law), but what I meant is that regardless of what you call something and regardless of how many people listen to you does not make it true. Literati is a tree which gives you a certain specific feeling. It has nothing to do with subtlety although it can be. There can be no such a thing as ''modern literati.'' Literati is a type of tree which nature produces (and sometimes people can stumble into it if they are lucky) and as we know nature just does not have fashion periods. Only human activities do. I realize you have a lot of influence Walter, but that does not mean too much when we are concerned with the study of natural forms.

I am not saying your tree is not a literati. It may be viewed as such by many. For me it has a way to go but might be an outstanding literati sometime in the future. I don't know. The point is that because it has an oversize jin and is ''aggressive'' does not make it modern.



Here is some Australian literati. It can not be ''modernized''. It just is what it is.

P1100721 - Copy.JPG

P1100728 - Copy.JPG

Here we have Japanese literati. Not subtle. In fact it can be looked at as being aggressive. So what does modern literati mean now?




draw7.JPG

I won't bother you further. :)
 

Walter Pall

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We will see what the opinions are after a few years. Only time can tell whether something that was not well accepted in the beginning becomes a model or gets discarded. Such is the nature of the beast called art. If things are well accepted in a broad manner right away it would be mainstream art.
No offense taken, this is normal. Only in bonsai many are not used to this. I am and have seen the general taste change many times.
 
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