Monday, February 20, 2006

Creation & Life

Two weeks ago I visited an exhibition on Works of two directors of parallel cinema, Victor Erice from Spain and Abbas Kiarostami from Iran. Apart from their various creative works, there were a couple of very interesting pieces of work by Victor Erice, which I wish to talk about here.

Victor Erice, some years ago, made a documentary on Antonio Lopez, a renowned painter of Madrid. Lopez has drawn some excellent landscapes. Victor, while making the film, visited sites, from where Lopez captured these landscapes in his vision and than brought them on the canvas. Victor captured the same landscapes in his camera; of course with motion and sound. He created two beautiful artworks from this experiment.

First was called Apuentes or just notes. Here he first showed the landscape and than the motion picture with the soundtrack for the same place. Through written notes flashed on the screen, he explained the difference between the painter’s vision and the reality. This was a wonderful experience. In a very brief and beautiful manner he showed, how an artist reinterprets reality with his own choice of colours and shades, without doing any injustice with the reality. As you can see, I am struggling with a verbal handicap in explaining this experience.

If in the first artwork I was handicapped, in the second one I am literally impotent. Let me just describe the entire process and leave perception and imagination to you. Look at the image at the top. Now imagine that there is a large white screen, put up in front of you. In the middle of the screen there is a dark square, on which there are not lights. Gradually, lights illuminate the white screen and a soundtrack starts. The square in the middle is still in dark, while rest of the screen has been illuminated with a yellow shade, akin to broad daylight. The soundtrack is that of a noisy traffic. Coupled with the soundtrack, illuminated screen creates an impression of a big road busy with traffic during peak hours of the day. Puzzled but amused you start liking the sound and light. Then gradually lights fade, soundtrack also regresses and focus increases on the square in the middle, which emerges to be a canvas; the one given above. In the end, there is total focus on the canvas, no lights elsewhere, no sounds, and on the canvas you see the picture. And you realize that the director just walked you through the process of the creation of that landscape. The process ended in what they called ‘Ontological Silence’.

Isn’t this a metaphor for life? You are thrown in chaos; a big muddle of noises, and shades. And you picking up the right shades, shadows, colours, objects, and sounds create a picture of life on the canvas of moments. And when the picture is complete, there is no mess, no chaos, and no confusion: but only silence, peace and beauty. That’s creation! That’s life! Creation is not an event in life, it’s the truth of life, a process, which ends only with life.

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