Hockney

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Walking in the Zen Garden at the Ryoanji Temple, Kyoto, Feb, 1983, Photographic Collage

For Hockney, the single-point perspective of photography could not communicate the experience of looking and living in the world. He described conventional photography as akin to ‘looking at the world from the point of view of a paralysed Cyclops- for a split second.’ In contrast, he sought to create a photography that could accommodate different viewpoints as well as time and movement. (Tate Britain)

The Ryoan-ji Temple is Japan’s most famous “Zen” garden. It consists of 15 carefully placed rocks that float mesmerisingly on sea of gravel – an example of carefully calculated randomness. (http://www.insidekyoto.com/ryoan-ji-temple)

The stones are placed so that the entire composition cannot be seen at once from the veranda. They are also arranged so that when looking at the garden from any angle (other than from above) only fourteen of the boulders are visible at one time. It is traditionally said that only through attaining enlightenment would one be able to view the fifteenth boulder.

Garden historian Gunter Nitschke wrote: “The garden at Ryōan-ji does not symbolize anything, or more precisely, to avoid any misunderstanding, the garden of Ryōan-ji does not symbolize, nor does it have the value of reproducing a natural beauty that one can find in the real or mythical world. I consider it to be an abstract composition of “natural” objects in space, a composition whose function is to incite meditation. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ryōan-ji)

 

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