CONVERSATION BETWEEN A MESSENGER, A MERCHANT AND A MONK
Characters: a Messenger, a Merchant, a Monk
Merchant: We can start from any point at all. The origin isn’t a problem. The important thing is to have a beginning.
Messenger: Perhaps not every point will provide useful access. Since it’s my business to ask the question: what does our guest and friend think about it?
Monk: I would banish all caution if I knew the essence of the matter. If I could explain it to you clearly. And yet there always has to be some delay, some waiting. Each time I get close to a door I’m not allowed to pass through, there I stand, burning incense and sniffing its odour, waiting in silence.
Messenger: Alright, only this way our poverty looks like an offer. Every, construction of forms has its origin in a bow made to emptiness, am I not right?
Monk: There is no emptiness, no fullness, there is someone, an original force overcoming and supporting them.
Merchant: Here we have the beginning. and also the origin, clearly.
Messenger: I don’t think its that easy.
Yet we don’t have much more to say on the matter, with our old distinctions. What is this force, is it form, is it content? If we’re talking about a vital impulse, how does it relate to the structure which receives it? How does a margin come to be, where do we put the frame – between the inside and the outside. In the realm of taste or in the realm of our daily behaviour?
Merchant: Paying homage to your tradition, you can ask as many old questions as you wish. All arrows off the mark. Things will change quickly. Even using the wisdom of Marx we see everything which is solid dissolve into thin air. Clergymen, humanists and organic intellectual, not one of them is able to tell us how it ends.
Monk: With zen, the way you alm is more important than hitting the mark.
Messenger: If we follow in line this spirit, we are still using our language. The first thing I notice is a certain fascination with fragments.
Merchant: Yes. but then you have just a glimpse of the whole idea of aesthetics: what’s lacking is the retreat into one’s romantic soul.
Monk: For example. I use a red colour for winter. Blue for the summer. If you observe after a short time the light will have created different effects on the surface. The direction of the sun, the quality of the air and the direction you look in change the subject.
Messenger: Adventures in perception. Each work is received by the environment as different vibrations of the same whole. The work itself vibrates with its own harmonies which are different each time. It is the nature of sound with many meanings. Shin- on. The painting itself is placed as ideo-grammatical writing, almost as if we could pronounce it, so to speak, and not consider it as something to be contemplated. The frame or margin isn’t there, but imploded into the surrounding area. A piece of music can help to make it hospitable. The notion of vibration persists. The painting – which isn’t a painting, but the return to an environment, the exposure of a world – exemplifies it. But there is no relation of idea with example.. . rather there is a repercussion, as in the eardrum, sound that is for the ear. And this is not a question of an idea, but something elusive, like the essence of soft palpitation which is compressed and freed in haiku.
Monk: I work by putting a central area or two sides in relief. I blur and dilute the surroundings, as in a watercolour. The support itself helps me to diversity the form. whether it is rice paper or a panel of rusty iron. Here and there I cast some gold dust.
Messenger: You don’t construct a thing. You evoke a process…
Merchant: Indeed, but do consider that improvisation will not give the effects In this case. Pollock and the others are always miming an obsession of the West which repeats itself. The alternative to chance and fate is a kind of prison for the individual’s sentiment.. .all modernistic illusions, empty icons. . .Here it is the seasons which count, the intervention of universal energy, messages which are even ethical, with their unexpected meaning renewing the purely, formal dimension.
Messenger: For association of ideas, or figures. I see a dawn. It is collective unconscious which allows me this. Perhaps the same original force lying at the base of this act which creates and builds. Light, which comes to disclose the edges of heaven and earth, opens an enormous long line of light. Then, slowly, the wings on the stage become clear. Irregular patches open up with slow and fast strokes, areas of varying brightness, until dawn breaks, and a uniform brilliance extends in every possible direction. Which is nevertheless a form of deception because. if you consider things properly, each individual detail is produced as a fold, causing the gaze to move on again.
Monk: Meditation is the food of sight, result and stimulus at the same time.
Messenger: Coming back to haiku, it seems there is a similar appearance of deceptive ease. Three verses. More than a rhetorical epigram, simple impressions. A short, profound insert, like an incision, in an imaginary text offered by, feelings and perceptions.
Monk: Precisely, to renew both you need meditation. Otherwise it is really a case of pure emptiness, an inconsolable blank inside, as happens perhaps in dispersion. to which the senses are induced most of the time.
Merchant: I mentioned ethical significance to indicate this. A discussion on the common use of the senses.
Messenger: Now I see elongated forms in a frozen torrent. If I look more carefully. under the thin layer formed by the ice, there is movement.
Merchant: We are bombarded by millions of images without any codes any more. Someone who rehabilitates his imagination is practising a form of social undertaking. In this case however it is the East coming to us, conceding itself with the fear of reciprocal contamination. Globalising even things like this we will we will perhaps be less troubled by the cycle of production and profit, which is always repressive.
Messenger: What strikes me most about this research is how exactly it is being done. Here impressions aren’t the subject of vague, indefinite consumption. Vagueness is used to express one of the values of beauty.
Merchant: Well, I claim this to be my function.
Monk: And we recognise this.
Messenger: Therefore we need more mirrors and more points of view. Different perspectives are healthy for the sight. I don’t give up but, although I understand the background behind the meanings, the depth of the sign, above all I’m retracing the uncertain boundaries of the image. Big strips of light need time to take shape in diffuse, faint glimmering light. The line dividing the two areas has become an outgrowth. Generated from stucco it has a fluorescent grey light, but more than anything it seems to impose itself, erupting like lava from a volcano, born for effective suggestion from generous watercolours. Small majesty of stone. Rust rediscovered as o noble ornament. Dust and scales of further light can be perceived, imprisoned in hostile dark areas. Elsewhere rice paper imposes details of refined elegance. Veiled horizons. Fragile expressions of joy.
Monk: That’s just what I mean.
by Mario Vijiak
Vìgliano Biellese. l5th May 1999