is it or is it not?

I am no curator of art , though a sometime practitioner and an interested amateur, but my guess is this is not a Van Gogh ! I have looked at a lot of his work including in the Metropolitan Museum in New York and I do not think this his work, the brush strokes are not firm enough, distinctive enough. The painting also looks as though it has been cut off, the bottom is missing.  The argument has raged for years and I am unsure where it is now but did you read over the weekend the view of experts that at least 20 or 30%of artworks sold in Australia are fakes?! People pay huge sums to consultants to advise them and still don’t end up with the real thing. You know the fake could easily be as good, as well executed, as the original so why are we so hung up about the authenticity of the name on the canvas?  What is it that makes the original so  imbued  with a certain sanctity ? Is it just the money ?


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realism in art

As the blurb says it’s a demonstration of realism in art. Chinese too, which I have in recent years, to be largely ‘hysterical’ – that is, in the original meaning of the term.  Perhaps realism too is relative, subject to one’s perception. I don’t like either, I prefer the ‘realism’ of imperfection in art. There something unnerving about perfection and/or the seeking of it. As for modern Chines art that screams in anxiety and angst at the viewer – no thank you ! I close my eyes and move on.  I do like / love Vermeer though. Ironic ?

Bon jour

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Humanity in one of its many manifestations.  Western eyes would typically see these people as inextricably alien and they would look at us similarly, or even more so. The peaceful integration of all of us on the planet has certainly been a challenge.  For centuries too, but the so-called globalisation of modern times has, arguably, intensified it. It has has something in common with the map upside down !

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australia on top

Odd image.  We rarely think of ourselves like this – except perhaps in sport but not geo-phyically. It’s just as logical though.  Just shows us how the world is conceived arbitrarily.  I’m trying upload a photo of human faces, weirdly painted which I think has something to do with our concepts os what is ‘normal.’ Hang in there !

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somewhere in china

Maybe this  is an idealised view of a back lane in China – somewhere, anywhere, but not no-where and, it is humble but beautiful.  Look at that pot and that door! What a colour ! Only time can make a colour like that.  One may try  to fake it( lots do) but it will never look the real thing. I can say a lot more about that but will I ? Or the question of shanties and ‘developments?, ‘Macmansions’ as we call them .  Probably not.  Why? Partly because it would take an ocean of words and, partly because I deeply respect other people’s homes.  People live and love in everything from hovels to mansions. Whatever.  If you doubt that one can make a home of a hovel, I beg to differ.  A home is a state of mind.  If you beg to differ, do some more reading on India.  Lots of of it out there, go look a bit deeper; it will be a very fruitful journey.

Bonne nuit

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china idealized

Yuanmingsishi jing tuyong – Forty Views of Yuanmingyuan.  The Chinese always name things in full describing the multitude of characteristics of an item or an action, or a person..  I asked a Chinese friend once who has lived in Australia for decades , if he thought in Chinese or English, and he said, English because it’s quicker !  I was not all that surprised because  a sign like STOP HERE will take 3 lines of characters ! By the way how wonderful is this Ming piece of art.  So refined, so perfectly Chinese.  It was, of course, the art of the Ming Dynasty that shaped the later Chinese aesthetic , and they, I have read, borrowed much from the earlier dynasty, the Tang.  Now I like Tang art too (not that one could ever buy an original).  I like its simplicity and rustiness.  There’s something very charming about its simplicity.

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An old Chinese portrait we found way out in eastern China. I’d like to keep it ! If we don’t sell it in due course I will ! Somethings are worth more than the money someone may pay you. Being found a very long way from Beijing it goes to show the reach of the Chinese Empire and Emperor in Classical China.  One may not like the character of Chinese government now or then but one must concede they were nonetheless governed ! Unlike India which certainly by the 17thC was not being governed; there was chaos and upheaval everywhere.  I have been reading a book by NK Naipaul who says that India has always been unstable swaying back and forth between invasion and conquest.  He also has a lot to say about the effect of this on India, on its soul so to speak.  I’ll refresh my mind and return to this aspect of Mother India again is comments are very interesting and worth the airing.  That descriptive, Mother India, suggests that regardless Indians feel a deep, nurturing connexion with their land.  I suspect this does not much leave them when they become part of the diaspora that now patchworks the Western world. in my opinion India was governed effectively by the British but colonialism became non-viable with the emergence of a sense of nationalism in India. Was British rule in the end good for India or not?  That was an recurrent question in my University days !!  My guess is that they are still asking it.

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a beach at night

Cottesloe Beach at night… stunning dark sky and the ripple of the water against the whitest beach sand in the world.  The beach is deep in the Australian psych.  Trouble is now there are lots more sharks it seems or maybe just more people tempting them in .  Either way, less people are venturing into the water.  Shame, it’s such a part of our culture..  Controversial schemes instituted  to deal with the problem. Nobody sure !

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harmony in the middle kingdom

Yuanmingyuan sishi jing tuyong – Forty views of Yuanmingyuan.  the Chinese always name things very precisely and formally.  I have to say the it is typical of all things Chinese, nothing is ever random or named for some obscure reason known only to the author ! But the point I want to make is the emphasis on harmony that is reflected in the image.  In contrast Indian images have a totally different feel, Much more emphasis on activity and colour in the representations of Indian life. The difference :  it’s apparent when you travel through either country : India is chaotic,China is serene despite the huge numbers  of  people. Interesting how culture appears to embed itself in the DNA of a people.  Actually I remember reading somewhere once, that there is some evidence that is what indeed happens.

bon jour

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complex india

We used to do things out of India, quite different from what we favour now but it was a long time ago.  I found it difficult dealing from there.  Delays, monsoon, too-pushy traders… but I did like India for its colour and vibrancy.  You could not find two countries more different than India and China; chalk and cheese. China restrained, orderly, quiet; India exuberant, vibrant,full colour and though it has less people than China , it seems infinitely more.  They’re all on the street all of the time it seems. The Chinese are quiet , their street presence is minimal.As Obama said the other day when asked to choose between France and Britain as number one ‘friend’.  He said it was like choosing between his 2 beloved daughters.  I agree, I could not choose between India and China.  Too different though I definitely know that I prefer Chinese architecture, and there is absolutely no comparison between the two. But then I’m a minimalist minimalist. India, Hindu India and China, the Middle Kingdom , are eternal.

Now this is something-a comment from V.S. Naipaul about the current state of India : The crisis of India is not only polical or economic. The larger crisis is of a wounded  old civilization that at last has become aware of its inadequacies and is without the intellectual means to move ahead.

Maybe that’s because so many of its intellectual elite emigrate to the West where they inevitably do very well. Stagnation, in any sense, cannot said of China; they have made everything new.

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