Blackout Poetry, Buddhist Painting, and Matisse

Posted: May 31, 2016 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

So, I’m still thinking about my taxonomy projects and blackout poetry. (Read about the origin of my taxonomy project works in this previous post.) This has definitely been a year (school year) of art and words for me.

Lucky for me, our school library recently moved. This lead not only to me getting a very nice new office in the new Learning and Research Center, but also being able to acquire many books that were being deaccessioned from the collection. Some of these books I took for artistic purposes not necessarily literary ones.

One of the books I now own is a very large (12×18) volume about Ancient Japanese Buddhist Art. I also took a few little books with Matisse cutouts. Of course, when I saw the books next to each other I thought I should combine these ideas with some blackout poetry. Since I am doing sets of 5 works for my taxonomy pieces, I have a selection here of 5 things. The first two are actually multiple page works. I used the two essays that begin the book as the basis for two black out poems. However, instead of blacking out the words I didn’t want, I boxed them and left the others. In addition, I chose words from multiple pages and cut down to that layer. This first slide show shows the pages in the first work.

Reading as if on one page, the poem reads:

J has never given up

to study, to comprehend, to symbolize, to understand

to understand in defiance of anatomical truth

Scholars arrived for their movement.

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One of the things that I think is interesting in this is the way the one picture page has just one hole in it, and it happens to be positioned in such a way that it seems the person in the image (maybe the scholar) is holding a sign that reads for their movement. I also am intrigued by looking at the pages as they turn and seeing some words and some holes.

Here is the second multi-page work. Read as a single poem it reads:

B played

beautiful lady standing under a tree

his exile, roughly speaking of course,

tradition rich in art

After the official introduction

B is placed in

Rocks, trees, and bears

This pair is entirely different from family

(hidden on a later page and not visible from page 1: there remain only a few.)

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Again, some of the pages are more interesting individually than others. Seeing them in person you can see the depth in the cuts down several pages to get to the word, and I think that adds something. As I took words and phrases from different levels, sometimes I misjudged their location on the page and couldn’t cut the above pages. However, having there remain only a few hidden (like an Easter egg in code) is even better. And, it’s doubly better since it was accidental and yet worked with the text.

Then I did 3 other images that are single pages. I added more color to the words on this one. Because I didn’t think the yellow was enough on the page, I colored the word boxes red. To get away from the appearance of “coloring in” and to have a less rigid shape, I irregularly extended the red beyond the boxes.

Photo on 5-24-16 at 8.53 AM

Poem reads:

The eleventh public record

National Commission, National Commission,

Ministry, Ministry

National Commission, Specialized Committee,

National Commission, National Commission, National Commission,

National Commission, National Commission,

National Commission.


Then the final two works.

Left hand poem reads:

In the main hall,

a youth riding out of the palace gates

In the five-storied pagoda

mother of all

and an attendant.

Right hand poem reads:

Protecting believers

a manifestation of paradise

The teacher, founder of legends,

sent back through the air stories

hurrying to the crown in excitement.

So this is some of what I have been up to in my spare time.

  1. tutormentor1 says:

    Very nice. Seems like the final two images could be framed as works of art, as will as illumination. Thanks for sharing with the #clmooc community.

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