Thursday, May 24, 2007

Art of Zen - Zen of Art

A cairn is a lasting monument.
Or is it?
I built this one on a Mediterranean beach in 2005 and placed it close to the water's edge. The tide rose and destroyed it. At the time, I named it Poseidon's cairn. Poseidon is the ancient Greek god of the sea. He claimed it.
This cairn started off making a whole series of them on various shores; Cyprus, Majorca, Northumberland, Morecambe Bay... each one dissolved into the sea as the tide rose with the same ease as a child's sandcastle.
To make art is to make a statement. So what was I trying to say here? At the time I thought it was about relentless change and the inexorable rhythm of the tides.
The Art of Zen.

But I now think it is much more.
Each cairn was an offering to a much deeper Truth. Built with a few hours labour and in the full knowledge of its destruction was an offering to the power of the sea. Or the rhythm of the sea, - Earth's heartbeat.
Our own heartbeat is the pulsing of the very rhythm of our own lives. The rise and fall of the tides, the pulsing cycle of day and night, the turning of the seasons, the cycle of the year, and on a grander scale, the explosive birth and death of stars. There is a continuous thread in there that was, is and will be the great Symphony of the Universe.
Perhaps sub/un consciously that is what this cairn building was trying to say.
The Zen of Art.

1 comment:

Cath said...

Except that art lives on as does your cairns. This picture is evidence. Yes the sea may have claimed it, but it is still there, albeit in a different form, scattered across the ocean. That is what happens to all matter. It decays or is burnt or scattered. But it is still there. Photographs, memories, (pictures in the mind) and art all capture the moment and keep it as it was, forever. xx