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  Life   Art  24 Jan 2020  The strokes of Asia

The strokes of Asia

Published : Jan 24, 2020, 12:45 am IST
Updated : Jan 24, 2020, 12:45 am IST

A French artist presented his interpretation of the Buddhist, Zen and other Asian cultures.

With respect to art, diversity expands as there are practices like Taoist paintings and Madhubani paintings.
 With respect to art, diversity expands as there are practices like Taoist paintings and Madhubani paintings.

Asia is regarded as the culture of all cultures as every country has a separate culture of its own. From the Zen and Buddhist culture of China and Japan to the Tibetan thangkas and Indian folk culture — Asia has it all. With respect to art, diversity expands as there are practices like Taoist paintings and Madhubani paintings.

French artist Guyseika through his latest collection ‘Thread through Asia’ recently exhibited at Alliance Française, showcases the Asian influence in his works be it in terms of philosophy or technique. He has been fascinated by Asia from a very young age. So one wonders if the works display his love for Asia or not, he responds, “I'm not sure "love" is the right term... it has just happened to be a part of my life from an early age, from the tales of my grandmother about Vietnam and all the objects that surrounded her.”

He adds, “All I read, see (subi-e, tangkas, Mandalas, mantras temples, etc), and all that I experience through my travels profoundly inspire me because it also resonates with my spiritual practice. Hard to explain, but it just comes out naturally like that.”

He uses handmade paper as a canvas for all his works. “Handmade paper is very interesting because it has special textures which are very beautiful. I got interested artistically by handmade paper because of the textures they have. Each sheet of paper is different and I compose my paintings to harmonise with what each one has to offer. It's particularly important in my work because of the use I make of empty space and transparences.”

There is a certain fascination the artist has towards the spiritual and geometric forms of yantras and mandalas, and the ritual use of pigments, that one finds in abundance in India. He adds, “As a painter, the use of diagrams and images to convey ideas or world views particularly speaks to me. I find this very powerful. There's a magical aspect to this. For example; I see some of my works, like the "zen drawings", as some kind of talisman.” On the use of pigments, he comments, “It seems pigments in India can turn anything, a tree, stone, whatever, into something sacred, imbued with power.”

The artworks on display involve the use of space as one of the key components in your works. In one of his works titled Reflection, it tends to depict loneliness. He points out that Reflection is a direct illustration of the poem written on it: he adds, “The reflection is me but I'm not the reflection.  The empty space in Chinese and Japanese art is essential. It expresses the mind with phenomenon appearing and disappearing in it "emptiness is form and form is emptiness" as stated in the Heart Sutra... In Taoist painting, it is the empty space that allows the energy to show and to flow in the picture, and I have worked on that basis.”

The Seika stamp is used by the artist as a signature. But there is more than meets the eye, he responds, “It punctuates, balance, finishes the painting. And sometimes, when the stamp has a particular meaning, like “Beyond thinking and non-thinking", it adds to the meaning to the painting.”

There is a certain amount of calmness that one feels while looking at the works on display. He responds, “I don't do it on purpose, it just comes out naturally like that. Maybe it is meditation. Meditation is a central part of my life.”  

Tags: madhubani paintings, taoist paintings