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Painting, Sculpture and Architecture are equal manifestations of a single aesthetic.By Satish Gujral
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An artist has no favourites, neither in choice of materials, nor in case of mediums. As an artist, I reject specialization in the same measure as I do with playing favourites. Specialization always develops a manipulative sensibility. Being shorn of the capacity to inter-relate parts that go into the making of a synthesis, such a sensibility is prone to compartmentalize, each part becoming a separate Kingdom denying the very unity it springs from. This then furthers man's estrangement from his environs and leads to a sapping of the collective will.
In a specialized society, an artist is no longer the architect, nor is the architect an artist. A building is no longer a multi-dimensional creative expression which turns an experience of it into an experience of ourselves. Bereft of artistic nourishment built architecture is reduced to mere construction. The same process is repeated in case of architecture of painting and sculpture, when they cease the absorption of vitality generated by the built-architecture in its purist form.
In its truest form architecture is an expression of the emotional thrust of a society. As an articulation of space it is easier for architecture to eliminate that element of remoteness that is attached to other moods of aesthetics. Painting, sculpture, poetry even music one can ignore but not space, not building. Architectural projects embody a mental process which is repeated in the mind of each person who sees and experience them. It offers man a way to total aesthetic experience. It is said that the world we build, good or bad, makes us understand and remember who we are. Like theatre to which it is often allied, built architecture offers a way to the total artistic experience. But unlike theatre it guarantees certain permanence.
Towns, buildings and objects are an extension of the collective memory of the individual and the community. Traditional buildings grew unconsciously out of the interaction of landscape, soil, climate, and material with culture. Just as a bird shapes its nest with its own body, so the traditional community shapes its habitat with its collective memory.
Built Architecture turns into physical reality a community's cosmological view of the world. At the same time the temporal order is linked with the mythical order. In the end there is complete affinity between the individual and the community, between thinking and place, between thought and feeling.
"Modern Man's most urgent need", says Edingar, "is to discover the symbolic life and it is the task of arts of space, painting, sculpture and architecture, to transfer his symbolic life into material and spatial forms". Separation of built architecture from architecture of painting was a negation of this potentiality.
Painting, sculpture and architecture are equal manifestations of a single aesthetic. Determined by the force of necessity, all three are locked together in a nonstructural frame work, measure and proportion, system of movement, sonority and echo. It is this homogeneity that has made the dream of achieving a synthesis of the three, almost an old as has been their isolation from each other.
The time Kippling devised this curriculum, was the late nineteenth century. The concept of utilizing this "deficiency" in case of painting, for finding a new datum of space that was free of nature's dictates, had not yet arrived. The time I joined the Mayo in the late thirties of the 20th century, it was the same archaic method that was still being taught.
We learnt to overcome the "lack" of third dimensions in painting by the use of linear and atmospheric perspective and strove to give our depictions as natural a look as was possible. It was to be years before I was to be exposed to that new datum of space which instead of subscribing to the dictate of nature would reduce nature's role in the creative process to only as a point of departure.
Better still I would learn to determine my own power of transformation by the distance I would achieve from nature. By this new datum it would be the process of creation itself that was to create its own reality. The reality of this new architecture of painting was to be its existence. The proof of its creation was to be its being. The space by this new datum, in the architecture of painting was to become as much an internal experience as it was an external object. It was to become indivisible from the human condition and man himself. It gave the artist a choice of either enlarging his self within the space or enlarging the space within himself. Call it whatever you may; a victory of non-sense over sense, a triumph of dialectic over logic.
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