Last weekend my show Self-Evident opened at Halka Art Project in Kadikoy, Istanbul. It features nine paintings created over the course of six weeks as artist-in-residence, as well as five written texts to accompany the paintings. I won’t describe much more, as I exhaustively outlined the project in earlier posts, but here are the final paintings and the texts as they appear in the exhibition.
Conception of self as personal identity provides the fulcrum for primary dichotomy.
Genesis of duality.
Separation of experience into self/other. Internal/external. Subject/object.
Such separation generates the mode of perspective whereby any subsequent dichotomy is enabled.
Establishing the paradigm wherein duality is unquestioningly embedded into the fundamental experience of reality.
Division of self and other sets the tone to apply an opposing quality or the other to any entity.
Diametric qualitative understanding creates expectation for concise obeisance in adhering to categorical identification.
Emergence of paradox. Emboldened differentiation finds unity evasive.
Trend towards dichotomy fuels anticipation that actions and events are either active or passive and that subjective beings are either participants or observers.
Applied to form or pattern described as self-evident, the anticipation is for form to be revealed, rather than created. This perspective rests upon the conception of self-evident from the perspective of personal identity.
Piercing the immutability of the creation/revelation dichotomy calls for the dissolution of personal identity. Self-evidence, from the perspective of transpersonal self, insists not upon the categorical interpretation of form and pattern as created or revealed.
Instead affording a vista from which mutual compatibility is assured. Inviting appreciation which grasps neither and eschews neither, instead embracing form as simultaneously created and revealed. Yielding profound insight.
Absolution of paradox.
The reconciliation and integration of conceptual opposites.
State of experience whose perspective appreciates the level of unity at which diametric conceptual pairs are reconciled into an integrated reality.
Paradox is apparent incompatibility from the perspective of reason. Such incompatibility exists between concepts. Concepts are delegated diametric quality through the lens of duality.
Concept is a product of mind. Reason, a perspective of intellect.
Paradox can exist only between concepts, through lens of reason.
It cannot exist in essential reality.
An effective demonstration of the absolution of paradox points to the illusory nature of concept, and incomplete jurisdiction of reason. Thus the illusory nature of conception. Thus the illusory nature of the conceiver—autonomous mind.
It illuminates an experiential reality beyond concept, beyond reason.
Thus beyond mind, beyond intellect.
Mind and intellect are facets of personal identity. To demonstrate their insubstantiality points to experiential reality beyond personal identity.
Absolving paradox requires the suspension of conditioned analytic parameters. Absolving paradox entails experiential integration in bypassing intellectual obstruction.
Suggestion of compatibility, integration by embracing fluidic interconnectivity. Avoiding specific reinforcement of diametric extreme.
Autonomy contrasts unity.
Autonomy implies distinction from integration. It requires the perception of a separate other.
Entity expresses autonomy whereas expanse expresses unity.
Identification of entity entails the separation from, or interruption of expanse, by default revoking the implicit integrity of a unified, undifferentiated field.
Relationship does not belong to expanse, but exists as a quality of entity.
Entity maintains autonomy. Autonomy disintegrates unity. The disintegration of unity births duality, multiplicity; inherently birthing relationship as well.
Distance is the primary expression of relationship.
Distance, as radius, the self-evident seed of circle, the fundamental expression of autonomy.
Circumference defines circle, manifests as boundary.
Boundary embodies autonomy. Internal/external.
Relationship, autonomy, define the material plane.
Hexagon expresses relationship in the self-evident potentiality of circle.
Hexagon’s side equates to circle’s radius. By parallel nascence, square and triangle evolve self-evidently from circle and hexagon. Primary, self-evident expressions of relationship.
Ever more complex and organic formal relationships are self-evident evolutions from these primary expressions.
Developed relationships maintain the depth of self-evident intelligence found in primary expressions of relationship, even in surpassing to the point of departure from recognizable origins.
Marked by nuance. Characterized by subtlety.
Contrary to the insistence of movies and mythology, profound experience does not emerge overtly, in shimmering effulgence.
It begs discernment. Defying cumbersome glances.
Emerging from a state of latent embeddedness within and beyond the material plane, self-evidence merits tranquil inspection.
Gross approach overlooks, seeking obvious indication.
Observer’s awareness focused into contemplative gaze upon material plane, self-evidence emerges to inhabit the abstract plane.
Implying and requiring agency on the part of both the observer and the observed, this process is directly reciprocal.
The extent to which consciousness is gathered in a way that enables observance of the emergent, to that extent also the emergent unveils itself in a self-elucidating way.
At the outset, subtlety defines both the state of consciousness required and the degree of observable emergence.
Subtlety is primary to both.
Ascendancy is reciprocal.
Ascendancy in reflection.
Ascent arrives at unity and therefore departs duality.
Unity is integration, the dissolution of boundary. Recognition of compatibility presupposes integration.
Duality necessitates differentiation. Differentiation precludes integration.
Difference, emboldened by specificity, provides static quality, a tendency for stagnancy.
Image, as a reflection of consciousness, implies duality. There is separation between the viewer and that which is viewed. Specificity of image (viewed) equates to specificity of viewer.
Specificity, exactitude, distinction: modes of difference. Differentiation precludes integration.
Flexibility in image incites flexibility in viewer. Flexibility is openness, potentiality, compatibility.
Compatibility presupposes integration.
Image as reflection of consciousness. Image, as a suggestion of ascent, or the potentiality of ascent, reflects the tendency towards ascendence in consciousness.
Image reflects the ascendancy of the consciousness with which it was created. In turn, the image reflects ascent upon the consciousness of the viewer.
Image which conveys flexibility, avoids specificity, suggests the potentiality of integration.
Consciousness encounters the possibility of ascent in imagery as it reflects the possibility of ascent in consciousness.
Imagery, reflecting self-evident as recognition by consciousness, itself reflects self-evidently upon consciousness.
Ascendency in reflection.
Ascendancy is reciprocal.
In describing the principles and patterns that underlie a given art form (or set of forms) as self-evident, naturally the question arises as to whether the form is created or revealed. Is it created, arising from the creative sensibilities of the subjective self (the artist)? Or does the form arise from inherent qualities of its self as a manifestation of abstract principles that innately define all material possibilities?
Continued inspection concerning the nature of the form—its origins as created or revealed—does not necessarily provide clarity, but rather yields further questions. Specifically, threats to the viability of the very distinction between creation and revelation in the first place become apparent through this inspection. This process also illuminates—and subsequently dissects the viability of—a number of other conceptual dichotomies, or diametric pairs.
The first that comes to mind is volition/response—an obvious (self-evident?) evolution from the examination of creation/revelation. Volition describes conscious activity which is itself an impetus, it is internally originating. Response is the opposite of volition, it is conscious activity in response to external impetus.
This of course leads to discussion of free-will/fate. The discussion as to whether determination over the events of one’s life originates internally or externally.
Entity/expanse – the contrast between autonomy (differentiation) and unity (indifferentiation). The identification of entity implies the separation from, or interruption of, expanse—by default revoking the implicit integral quality of a unified, undifferentiated field.
The common thread among the emergence of diametric pairs is the concept of self. The concept of self provides the fulcrum for the primary dichotomy, the genesis of duality. The habit of separating experience into self/non-self—internal/external—generates the mode of perspective through which any subsequent dichotomies are enabled. It establishes the paradigm wherein duality is unquestioningly embedded into the primary understanding and experience of reality.
Dividing the world into self and other sets the tone for viewing everything as having one opposing quality or the other. This creates an expectation for concise, black and white approaches to understanding and qualifying experiences—good/bad, complex/simple, this/that, etc…
This trend towards dichotomy thus creates anticipation that actions and events are either active or passive and that subjective beings are either participants or observers.
In this vein of thought, form must be either created or revealed. Cognitive activity must be either volitional or responsive. Ideologies are either good or bad. Moving through life one either seeks or finds. We have either free will or we are subject to fate, but both cannot be true simultaneously—that would be paradoxical.
One of the primary aims of my artwork, is to visually convey the absolution of paradox through the reconciliation and integration of conceptual opposites.
The intention is to present imagery which suggests the state of experience whose perspective appreciates the level of unity at which the pairs of “opposites” —such as those listed previously—are reconciled into an integrated reality.
This perspective transcends the boundaries of personal identity, piercing the immutability of the self/non-self dichotomy and thus deflating the dualistic parameters by which qualitative experience is organized into diametric pairs—the parameters by which diametric potentiality is taken to be concrete, as opposed to being in flux. These parameters enable the illusion of paradox—the sense that (seemingly) diametric concepts cannot co-exist simultaneously.
To deflate these parameters is to remove the disabling knot in conscious development through which we have convinced ourselves that the co-existence of two extant aspects of reality might somehow be impossible. This unveils a reality with possibilities far beyond what we allow ourselves to be gimmicked into believing about the extent of the inherent capacities of consciousness. This is a reality wherein opposites are not contradictory but complementary. The duality that their diametric quality suggests is negated by their expression in integral form.
In his book, The Tao of Physics, Fritjof Capra expounds upon the parallels between the most groundbreaking findings of quantum physics and ancient fundamental tenets of eastern philosophical traditions. He discusses the manner in which light, at a subatomic level, behaves as both a particle and a wave (matter and energy)—a phenomenon that seems a paradox.
“At the subatomic level, matter does not exist with certainty at definite places, but rather shows ‘tendencies to exist’ and atomic events do not occur with certainty at definite times and in definite ways, but rather show ‘tendencies to occur’. In the formalism of quantum theory, these tendencies are expressed as probabilities and are associated with mathematical quantities which take the form of waves. This is why particles can be waves at the same time. They are not ‘real’ three-dimensional waves like sound or water waves.They are ‘probability waves’, abstract mathematical quantities with all the characteristic properties of waves which are related to the probabilities of finding the particles at particular points in space and at particular times.”
This view lends further thematic framework for my project: Self-Evident. These paintings convey a state of flux between diametric qualities. Each image neither confirms nor denies its primary elements. They incorporate Islamic geometry as well as organic forms of a spontaneous, improvisational nature. But the image is neither firmly revealed nor created, and neither does it avoid one quality or the other.
You could say it expresses “tendencies to occur,” as Capra describes the subatomic qualities of light. The composition simultaneously embodies structure and evokes dissolution, in an integrated, non-contradictory way. It implies the semblance of expanse without completely obfuscating the visage of entity.
In this manner, I suggest the dissolution of the boundaries of personal identity and the requisite method of examination by which it is observed/achieved/maintained.
How does inspection dissolve boundaries?
Well first, how do images which convey the transcendence of paradoxical contradiction in diametric qualities suggest the dissolution of such boundaries of personal identity?
I earlier discussed how the experiential habit by which phenomena are assigned one or the other of a pair of diametric qualities sprouts from the primary self/non-self dichotomy. This creates the perspective of duality from which all these other dichotomies are perceived.
Just as this initial dualization gains multiplicity in enabling all subsequent expressions of duality, so also can all subsequent dichotomies be condensed back to their nascence in the self/non-self differentiation.
—On a bit of a tangent—this symmetrically patterned pathway (unity->duality->multiplicity/multiplicity->duality->unity) an important pathway of understanding the significance of Islamic geometry.
And this is no accident.
The geometric pattern blossoms outward from an initial specified point. This point is an exact birth of entity depicted upon a previously uninterrupted expanse. This point is the point of emergence, wherefrom one-dimensional unity transforms into two-dimensional dichotomy.
The entirety of the ensuing two-dimensional geometric structure which sprouts from this initial point can be said to convey the self-evident patterns of relationship inherent to the potentiality embedded in this point.
Relationship requires non-unity, differentiation, and therefore this initial departure from unified expanse makes available all subsequent relationships. (mirroring exactly the original self/non-self dichotomy)
And in this instance: just as unity begets duality begets multiplicity, so also multiplicity collapses into duality collapses into unity.
—Returning to answer my earlier question— “How do images which convey the transcendence of paradoxical contradiction in diametric qualities suggest the dissolution of such boundaries of personal identity?”
The pattern outlined above provides the answer to this question. Collapsing diametric multiplicity into the primary duality paves the way for collapsing this primary duality into unity (dissolving the boundaries of personal identity).
So then, how can inspection dissolve boundaries?
Having demonstrated the essential unsubstantiality of the boundaries between diametric pairs, it goes without saying that the more closely these boundaries are inspected, the more obvious it becomes that the boundary is illusory in the first place and its semblance of actuality therefore dissolves without ado.
If one is to attempt—in a manner of concentrated introspection—to perceive or identify “self,” who or what they are, they would eventually discover this to be impossible. Any identifiable element of self, any facet of personal identity which is perceivable, cannot be considered Self.
(notice I made effort to distinguish between self and Self, I will get back to this momentarily)
Anything that is perceived is not the Self, because Self is the perceiver, not the perceived. Self is Consciousness. Because boundaries can be perceived, they are not Self. And as Self is beyond boundaries, it is absolute unity.
In this light, self can be described as personal identity, an (illusory) autonomous entity. Self is one-dimensional unity: Consciousness. These definitions approximately mirror the Sanskrit terms Atman (~self) and Paratman (~Self).
This brings a very interesting angle to the idea of self-evident. Is it self-evident or Self-evident?
For purposes of this project, I am approaching it as Self-evident. This illuminates the relevance of transcending diametric distinction with the reconciliation and integration of apparent opposites within the images. I am suggesting form that is neither revealed nor created, but rather occupies the indefinite space wherefrom both are possible. I am suggesting neither entity nor expanse, but the potentiality for both. And so on…