Post Traditional Praxis 5

Event: Tradition as a Measure of the Contemporary Dialogue Session /
Speakers: Dr. Simon Soon, Niranjan Rajah and Audience! /
Date: 17th March 2018 (Saturday) /
Time:  2 pm to 4.30 pm /
Venue: Seminar Room 1 and Piyadasa Gallery, Cultural Centre, University of Malaya /

This Dialog Session is presented as a part of –
The Gift of Knowledge: An Installation Commemorating the Person and Work of Durai Raja Singam (1904-1995)
by Niranjan Rajah as part of ALAMI BELAS – KL BIENNALE 2017

The strength of traditional values and the revival of theocentric approaches to social issues makes it incumbent upon contemporary artists and theorists who practice in the modernist and postmodernist idioms to engage reflectively with traditional values in art. Conversely, it seems imperative that traditionalists reflect on the impact of the resurgent traditional mores in contemporary life, and that they do not develop their worldviews in isolation from modernity and from one another.

In post-traditional situations like ours, where diverse religious orders have survived both the singularity of modernism and the relativity of postmodernism, we are required to be attentive to art that goes beyond both the chronological and stylistic modes of art history and wholesale adoption of critical theory. We may need to unpack and explore the depth, the meanings of tradition and not sit satisfied within the aura of its superficial significations. With the historical and bibliographical researches of Durai Raja Singam as a point of departure, our afternoon speakers will explore what his practice means for both contemporary art and the writing of art history in Malaysia today.

There will be two presentations followed by a dialogue with the audience. The presentations are –

“Durai Raja Singam as a pioneering proponent of Ananda Coomaraswamy – Traditional worldviews and implications for our national sense of being”
by Niranjan Rajah, Assistant Professor, School of Interactive Arts and Technology, Simon Fraser University, British Columbia, Canada.

and

“Who Is This Coomaraswamy? Durai Singam and the Impossibility of Not Writing”
by Simon Soon, Senior Lecturer, Visual Art Program, Cultural Centre, University of Malaya.

A tour of the exhibition currently on view at Piyadasa Gallery will be conducted by Niranjan Rajah after the talk at around 4PM. Refreshments will be served.

 

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Tarkovsky Monument

tarkovsky moumentA monument to Andrei Tarkovsky was opened on the 29th July 2017 in Suzdal, where his own monumental contribution to Russia cinema, Andrei Rublev, was shot in 1965 … well over half a century ago. Andrei Tarkovsky was in my view the most important artist of the 20 century in any medium. Yes, that is a sweeping statement! … but I have just watched his films in the cinema – Solaris 3 times and Stalker twice in the course of the last week, and feel this claim is justified. I shall do my best to contextualize my hyperbole … and if I fail to convince you … perhaps, you might at the very least, understand where I am coming from (my perspective or paradigm)!

In a deathbed conversation with Krzysztof Zanussi, he said to his friend and esteemed colleague,  “If I happen to die, please whenever you talk about me, remind people I want to be remembered as a sinner, as somebody who committed many sins …. “ Andrei Tarkovsky was Christian and I believe he was expressing, in this request, his subscription to the doctrine of original sin, which although different in orientation and nuance, is in essence similar to the Islamic fitrah (original purity) or the Buddhist dhukka  (universal suffering). In all his work Tarkovsky struggled to express this sacred, understanding of the human condition in historical and psychological terms.

In his hands, film, the quintessential 20th Century representational medium, becomes both a medicine and a sacrament – an interface for healing and a window on salvation. He set this ameliorative and soteriological vehicle into motion in what Ingmar Bergman, no less, has described as “a new language, true to the nature of film, as it captures life as a reflection, life as a dream”.  Tarkovsky is the exemplary post-traditionalist, utterly contemporary in his engagement with social history and psychology … timeless in his grasp of the sacred. He articulated this timelessness in his films, his 7 technically and aesthetically masterful ‘sculptures of time‘!

Image : http://wellnews.us/articles/the-firstever

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mHnUhowBYkI

https://people.ucalgary.ca/~tstronds/nostalghia.com/TheTopics/IB_On_AT.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sculpting_in_Time