Fragments of Devotion written by the Bioneer Andreea State
When we hear about the word devotion we usually tend to think about a positive state of plenitude. Devotion towards the sacred universal sound of OM, an animate or inanimate object or signal, all these forms come hand in hand with volition. These acts are manifestations of the will of being for Schopenhauer. To what extent is this world enhancing devotion may be a question which arises.
Meeting cultures becomes a journey you are immersed in during your visit ar Ripley’s Believe it Or Not – Amsterdam.
The road taken for defying time …
For instance, looking at this image you might think about a haiku expressing beauty through the mirror of nature. As it doesn’t contain lyrics, this artwork can be paired with the syntagma of pictorial-poetry. The sculpture itself represents an act of devotion born from an impressionist sparkle of human bond: suffering by tuberculosis, Hananuma Masakichi found this artistic medium and gave his wife an eternal image of himself. More than a visual feeling, the sense of touch was awaken: fields of energies could be felt because, Believe it Or Not, he put his natural hair there. Each strand was inserted individually so precisely that no seams are visible! He bored a hole for each pore on his body and took the corresponding hair from that pore and inserted it at the exact position on the statue. Everytime his lover would run her hand through his hair, she could bring his presence back for a moment.
When the shapes of devotion crystallize in art ..
When it comes to create a microuniverse, the difficulties of capturing the details translate a proof of the artist’s patience. Every single petal of the flower can be shaped with a great attention. As the ideas for this Chinese Camel Bone Sculpture were designed by Xie Man Hua of Guangzou, China, the making of the artwork took over 3-4 months and not only one, but 20 craftsmen worked to set in motion the becoming of the abstract into a concrete object. What is important to know is that no camel was harmed to obtain the bones. After a natural death, the bones were collected and used for an artistic purpose. As in a painting, you can live inside this sculpture for a moment, Believe it Or Not! Don’t miss artworks made from paper which portrays an Indian warrior-dancer or made from cornstarch, salt and water!
More than this, when colours meet mediums as leaves, spider webs, insect bodies, snake skins or coins, it is hard to imagine the results. The leaves transcend their perishable nature and become a sparkle of eternal bliss with colors all together. Accurate lines are catching your eye thorugh one of Vincent Van Gogh’ Self Portrait and another famous artwork Sunflowers. Painting on such fragile mediums involves hours of hardworking and starting again and again as they would break easily. A painting on the wings of a butterfly, small potraits on dragonflies … can all of these be visible for the eye? Come and convince yourself to what extent devotion can be applied!
The road taken/ the road not taken .. ?
If you’re wondering about finding out more about cultural diversity, then Lily’ story from China would be something to have a look over. An attitude of devotion towards the concept of beauty was enunciated in China: from 10th century to the early 20th century the ”art” of binding a female’s feet became central for the Chinese vision. The practice originated among upper class court dancers during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period, then became famous during the Song Dynasty. Through a tight binding, the girls would have had the arch of the feet broken until their toes touched their heels. Walking was difficult and, according to statistics, from a group of 13 people, one person would have died. For this sign, considered a beautiful value, there were made special lotus painted slippers. During Qing Dynasty there have been attempts to end this practice, but only in the early 20th century foot binding began to dissapear as a result of campaigns. There are still a few elderly Chinese women who live nowadays with bound feet.
A couple of shapes which portray the manifestations of will were exposed here as a channel towards asking yourself about what remains from the meanings of devotion. Are all these attitudes towards devotion beyond good and bad? Which are the striking details that construct them? Let the introspection go and see how you/ humanity can rethink about ideas of loyalty in our contemporary society.