~DIAMOND LEAVES: Overflowing Fullness by KELIE BOWMAN
one last post: DIAMOND LEAVES: Brilliant artist books from around the World
SEPT 18 – OCT 28, 2012 – CFCA ART MUSEUM, BEIJING, CHINA
curated by MARSHALL WEBER (of BROOKLYN), and XU BING – and including a selection of almost 40 handmade artist books or ‘zines’ – from CINDERS of BROOKLYN, founded by KELIE BOWMAN and STO.
inside the new CFCA Art Museum – designed by Japanese architect ARATA ISOZAKI, BEIJING, P.R. CHINA, see: CFCA/overview – architecture
I don’t know if this particular handmade book by Cinders co-founder KELIE BOWMAN is in the ‘Diamond Leaves’ exhibit – but it is one of my faves. a slight slip of book, with a light-handed approach that belies it’s true grit guts – it still takes on some heavy issues – it’s the stenciled cover art – that really send me – ecstatic !!
this ‘artist book’ cover . . . is a folded sheet of ordinary, mid-grade weight, brown wrapping paper – with 2 staples through the center fold/spine – to bind the inner pages together. each cover was stenciled individually so each ‘book’ is unique, though of pretty much the same spray paint/stencil elements.
no two were exactly alike – this is number 4 out of an edition of 55.
the book is quite diminutive in scale and feather-light. and so are the line drawing illustrations inside, and though the sentiments it addresses are – well, ‘heavy’. in the social sense. the questioning is more poetic, than finger-pointingly head-on.
folded, the little book is 4-1/4 in. wide x by almost 6 in. in height. open: almost 9 in. x almost 6 in.
inside are 16 pages of black line drawings, printed on yellow paper.
omg – what happened to … 6 ?
an error like that: that’s called the hand of god !! proof that we are human, and NOT gods !!
a ‘pattern’ error, a ‘skip’ or ‘slip’ – like that – is considered a ‘tangible’ sign of god’s blessing on the ‘weaver’. or in this case – the ‘tale – spinner’.
it is considered an actual divine ‘intervention’, god’s hand in the work.
in ancient native weaving lore across the globe, or even American colonial quilt making, you can find this profound ‘abstract’ thought intertwined with basic hands-on handiwork. . . I guess, it was also a way not to make these detail-oriented intricate craftspeople go crazy – when a tiny s error showed up – to keep them from having to rip up the piece and start all over !!
but serious, the Amish and Mennonite colonial quiltmakers are recorded as having deliberately, reversing a block – to show that they were human, and had ‘awe’ in the face of God – because to be ‘perfect’ – was sinful pride.
so in it’s small, un-deliberate way, this tiny handcrafted book follows in a great global craft-making tradition.
this book is: PROFOUND. simply put it finds truth through its craftsmanshio. not its physical scale or art world ‘seriousness’.
and I think – that’s also what the curators of this show – ‘Diamomd Leaves’ – meant by ‘Brilliant’.
of course, as well, this being a book by KELIE BOWMAN, an artist who looks inward with eyes outward, if you can follow the ‘thread’ – there is NO escaping some commentary on contemporary society . . . and its woes: “FORECLOSURE”, “ISOLATION of AGING”, “lack of respect” & “loss of SKILLS re: home crafts”.
aka ‘the red dust’ aka earthly troubles, attachment . . . . . . in the ancient eastern world !!
ARTWORK: DIGITAL COLLAGE BANNER – by NANCY SMITH
TITLE: ‘as a red plastic dog . . . is to 18TH CENTURY PEKING GLASS !! – SO 21ST CENTURY ZINE . . is to book’.
p.s. love how the colors in Kelie’s book cover . . . echo the ‘JUBILATION/RUMINATION’ card from the recent AMERICAN FOLK ART MUSEUM SHOW – ghostly !!
like a diamond refracts light, and creates many sparks and rays of different colored light – I guess that’s what the curators had in mind – when they titled this show. what a beautiful title, what a beautiful thought . . that something so small and fragile (vs. JEFF KOONS !!) and handmade, could be compared to the hardest of the hard: the diamond.
the brilliance being its thoughts, its infinite visual spectrum, tiny gems of human creation – in a nutshell.
a prism of the human mind. in the humblest form: paper. paper as . . . as ‘diamond’.
it’s interesting how the Chinese language is so absolutely and fundamentally different from ours, but the translations are such literal ‘occasions’. and yet, a gross misuse re: American function. you know, double happiness tissue paper !!
love it – don’t ever change it.
it’s what allowed an exhibit of zines to be called: ‘Diamond Leaves ‘ – how precious, in and of itself. but then we go to . . . “Brilliant”.
words fail me. right on ?
so funny, since we started the ‘thread’ of September 2012 with ‘FAMILY JEWELS’ & the (brilliant craftsmanship) of the IMPERIAL RUSSIAN FABERGE !!
of course, the title of KELIE’S ZINE, discussed above, ‘Overflowing Fullness’ (!!) fits perfectly into this ‘literal’ language conversation, or what !!
the other irony . . . is that DIAMOND, as in DIAMOND PATH (VAJRAYANA) is the common term for TIBETAN BUDDHISM – repressed so viciously by the Chinese regimes. VAJRAYANA.
VAJRA means DIAMOND. YANA means PATH.
VAJRA is SANSKRIT for diamond – it translates: indestructible (!!).
it is considered the highest or purest, hence diamond – form or path to enlightenment. as opposed to the ‘middle ground’ r paths.
now, YANA or ‘PATH’ . . . is very interesting, too.
it is connected to tantra – a word too infinite in scope to define simply – but basically comes down to the rituals, beliefs, texts, pratices, yoga – one follows on the ‘path’.
now, TANTRA is sanskrit for: weaving !!
weaving as a metaphor, a totally divine one at that – and a very basic one too – that all can understand in all its implications. which gets us back, full circle to the ‘hand of god’ . . . in a weaving pattern error, or even a zine !!
so ‘Diamond’, or what !!
and yep, from the FABERGE JEWELS of the IMPERIAL RUSSIAN FAMILY, we did diverge, scroll down, see artlovers SEPT 2012 post history – right on into – the vintage weavings of PERU !!
coats of many colors – diamond prisms, in and of themselves, think on it.
TIBETAN BUDDHISTS SAY: “KEEP THE VAJRA VIEW – the “DIAMOND” PATH.
which means: “enter into the the natural sphere of unwavering attentiveness.”
CHINA: take a note – a leaf from the page of a NYC artist/blogger (!!) – who just like all the other artist/ziners, Kelie Bowman included, doesn’t come without her ‘laundry’, message, history – and outward look: you can NOT talk about artistic creativity and use the word: DIAMOND – and not get TIBET – thrown back at ya !!
the world, getting smaller and more global, as we get more technically advanced, day by day. Brooklyn, WILLIAMSBURG !! zines in China, who woulda thought, in a museum designed by a Japanese architect – no less (!!).
and yet conversely, the more technically, wirelessly advanced we get – the more attuned to individual, from-the-ground-up, hands-on, grass roots-up ‘handiwork’ we get: whether contemporary ‘Diamond’ zines, in this case. or craftsmanship, in general. whether high-end precious metal and gems FABERGE, or local native traditional weavings in PERU, their colors derived from ancient plant recipes – !!
the very yin yang irony of the internet web – is that the ‘value’ of hands-on handmade product & individual, as in unique – as opposed to mass produced and industrially scaled (think KOONS) – is more appreciated.
case in point, this show, in a nutshell.
and, if the internet web ain’t that big huge ole ;weaving’ in the sky – I don’t know . . . what is !!
VAJRAYANA – the DIAMOND PATH: “enter into the natural sphere (translate: web) of unwavering attentiveness”
check: google & networking.
big ideas from little books – ‘Diamond Leaves: Brilliant Artist Books from around the World’ – in CHINA.
continues . . .