Creation & Life

In February, 2006 I visited an exhibition of works of two famous directors of parallel cinema, Victor Erice from Spain and Abbas Kiarostami from Iran. Over there, I saw a couple of very interesting pieces of art 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 the same sites that Antonio López had captured on canvas. Victor captured the same landscapes in his camera and gave his viewers an opportunity to contrast and compare how different pieces of art emit different emotions, using the same premise. More than that, he had 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. Written notes (in Spanish – Apuentes) were being flashed on the screen, and through them 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 huge verbal handicap in explaining and describing this experience.

If in the first artwork I am failing in my attempt to describe the experience, in the second one I don’t think I can make an attempt at all. Let me just describe the entire process and leave perception and imagination to you. Look at the image at the top-left. Now imagine that you are in front of a large white screen. In the middle of the screen there is a dark square, and unlike rest of the screen no lights are thrown on it. 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, same as that of 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 lights concentrate 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. Believe me, at this point, despite pin-drop silence, you can hear the traffic noise, you can feel the dazzling daylight and you can relate it perfectly to what you are seeing on the screen. And you realize that the director just walked you through the process of the creation of that landscape. Noise – heat – commotion – inspiration – and finally…..an ‘Ontological Silence’.

At that time, I found it to be a metaphor for life. From all the chaos and noise, you try to pick up the best shades, best colours and bring them on the canvas of moments. When the picture is complete, you see no mess, no chaos, and no confusion: but only silence, peace and beauty!

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