Japan art and Greek philosophy: Still life art and the scroll of time
Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
The latest art piece by the Japanese contemporary artist Sawako Utsumi is titled “Still Life Art and the Scroll of Time.” By itself, the art piece appears to be devoid of political, religious, or philosophical meaning. However, similar to the art piece titled “Simplicity of Beauty,” the real meaning is missed because the philosophical and religious dimension doesn’t appear visible when viewed one-dimensionally.
However, in the art piece “Simplicity of Beauty” the number three represented by fruit and the number one represented by the cup have higher meanings. This concerns the significance of the numbers three and one within the philosophy of Pythagoras and Plotinus – and then extended to the Abrahamic world. Henceforth, Utsumi is similarly pushing the same boundary with “Still Life Art and the Scroll of Time.”
Immediately when viewing “Still Life Art and the Scroll of Time” the flowers dominate this lovely art piece. However, the hidden meaning concerns the scroll – with Utsumi equating this to the scroll of time from a philosophical and religious angle.
Pythagoras said, “The most momentous thing in human life is the art of winning the soul to good or evil.”
The older Animist, Pagan, Traditional Beliefs and other faiths that existed – before the dominant faiths of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Judaism, Sikhism, and Zoroastrianism existed – left down oral traditions to enrich the soul and guide throughout this life. Of course, Paganism is extremely broad. Hence, the written word equally existed depending on the Pagan god/goddess. Meanwhile, other Pagan faiths depended on oral traditions. Therefore, the scroll of time in the art piece by Utsumi remains hidden when it comes to the knowledge inside.
For Utsumi, the words of Aristotle ring true. Aristotle pointedly said, “The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.”
Indeed, words of distant times and the real meaning often can’t transcend translations nor the passages of time. Likewise, changes within languages and borrowed words from other languages mean that nothing is set in stone. Henceforth, the original words to guide and enrich have become altered by linguistic changes and perceptions of time then reset and molded by modernity and changing concepts.
Protagoras said, “As to gods, I have no way of knowing either that they exist or do not exist, or what they are like.”
Hence, is the scroll of time – like the scroll of knowledge – full of words from distant times when the feet of Abraham, Buddha, Jesus, and other holy people walked this earth? Or is the scroll of time empty concerning oral traditions or new philosophies that have emerged?
Or maybe the scroll of time concerns the Greek world of Thales of Miletus, Pythagoras, Plotinus, Protagoras, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Epicurus, Diogenes, Zeno of Citium, and others?
Plotinus philosophically uttered, “God is not external to anyone, but is present with all things, though they are ignorant that he is so.”
Meanwhile, the quote by Zeno of Citium is apt for all time. Zeno of Citium wisely uttered, “Nothing is more hostile to a firm grasp on knowledge than self-deception.”
Or, in the mindset of Utsumi – who hails from a Shinto background – it might be that the scroll of time only applies to the wisdom followed by each individual. Thus, the scroll is transcendental to each individual passing through this world.
http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/sawako-utsumi.html – Sawako Utsumi and where you can buy her art, postcards, bags, and other products. Also, individuals can contact her for individual requests.
http://sawakoart.com Sawako Utsumi website
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