Jason Truesdell : Pursuing My Passions

A life in flux. Soon to be immigrant to Japan. Recently migrated this blog from another platform after many years of neglect (about March 6, 2017). Sorry for the styling and functionality potholes; I am working on cleaning things up and making it usable again.

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O-sip-seju and nokdu jeon

Sunday night in Seoul I was on my own, and incredibly jetlagged. After visiting a pottery gallery , I

Heyri Gallery, part 2: Artefacts of Korean cuisine

Jars for fermenting the mother sauces Gochujang, dwaenjang, soy sauce and several other Koreaen base

Jason Truesdell : Pursuing My Passions : Heyri Gallery, Part 3, Ceramics you can go home with

PingBack from http://blog.jagaimo.com/archive/2007/05/04/heyri-gallery-part-3-ceramics-you-can-go-home-with.aspx

re: Heyri Gallery, part 1: The pottery of Sylvia Hyman

"This comes from a spiritual Arabic text, which actually apparently is something about time and space."

It is no 'spiritual Arabic text'.  It comes from the Holy Kuran - which is the muslim's religious book.  Shame on her for using its holy pages for such work.

Why didn't she use the bible for the same purpose???

lubna

re: Heyri Gallery, part 1: The pottery of Sylvia Hyman

My understanding, based on what the gallery owner said, is that this is actually from a mystical text, and specifically not the Qur'an. (I asked if it was from the Qu'ran, and he said no, but Mr. Lee also doesn't read Arabic).

It's apparently passages about time, however, I don't speak Arabic so I cannot confirm such things; I'm better with German or Japanese.

However, she has used any number of books for her work, and it wouldn't surprise me if she's used Christian or Judaic texts. She has also used material from Winnie the Pooh and ocean navigation books.

jason

re: Heyri Gallery, part 1: The pottery of Sylvia Hyman

Jason,

Do you know if the arabic is for sale at the gallery. I wasnt sure if it is only shown as an exibit.

thanks

fsansa

re: Heyri Gallery, part 1: The pottery of Sylvia Hyman

My understanding was that this was an exhibition, and that Sylvia Hyman's pieces were not for sale, at least not through Hanhyanglim gallery. Mr. Lee and Mrs. Han operate the gallery mostly as a cultural resource, but they have a small gift shop featuring production and artisan Korean pottery.

jason

re: Heyri Gallery, part 1: The pottery of Sylvia Hyman

In response to comments made by lubna's earlier comments

"Shame on her for using its holy pages for such work"

I would like to say that while I understand her being upset over the use of Islamic religious text as a work of art, I would like to add that it could also be seen as the artist's attempt to visually depict the contents and beauty of the Quran in a way others would appreciate.

The name of the piece -  "Through time and space" itself alludes to trancendence of any spiritually inspired work, be it the Quran, Bible, or the Ramayana.

fsansa

re: Heyri Gallery, part 1: The pottery of Sylvia Hyman

Yes, and based on what Mr. Lee was telling me, I believe this is a Sufi text, rather than the Qur'an.

Sylvia Hyman also didn't, as far as I understand, destroy the text to create the work; the "paper" is actually made from clay and the image is copied to the clay.

jason

re: Heyri Gallery, part 1: The pottery of Sylvia Hyman

Just thought I would chime in:  it most definitely IS the Qur'an.  I read the Qur'an in Arabic, and I know for a fact those pages were taken from a Qur'an.  

Now, about whether it is appropriate or not, I believe it is all in the artist's intentions - I doubt she meant it as a disgrace to the book, or to Muslims, but just so you know, it will be taken as an insult, as the book is to be treated with utmost respect, and not deformed, disfigured, or even dirtied.

I would assume people of other faiths would feel the same way about their sacred texts as well.

Just some info for future reference.

Hamza

re: Heyri Gallery, part 1: The pottery of Sylvia Hyman

"I would assume people of other faiths would feel the same way about their sacred texts as well."

You would be wrong.

Using recreated pages of Psalm 23 to attempt to depict that scene, or something more abstract, would be sublime. It's the same as music: where did you think The Byrds' hit "Turn, turn, turn" came from? The Bible.

Name (required)

re: Heyri Gallery, part 1: The pottery of Sylvia Hyman

In Japan I doubt using religious texts in art would have much shock value, Shinto or Buddhist or otherwise. Because there's no central conflict of "belief" or "non-belief" in Japanese religion, there's no perception of a great slight or insult... perhaps bad taste, at worse.

Historically, in South Asian religions/epistemologies, including Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism, as well as indigenous systems in Japan, Korea, and China, faith and belief were far less important than practice. It was more important to follow rituals or be part of the larger community than it was to argue about questions of belief. Some of that has changed as people within those traditions faced hostile outsiders, and so there is now something like a Hindu fundamentalism, for example, but if you look at religions and belief systems that evolved outside of the three major "Of the Book" religions, you rarely find such an importance attached to any division between believers and non-believers.

I think this is why such passion around perceived insults in the use of religious symbolism, perception of heresy, and so on occur in Christianity, Islam, and Judaism, but less so outside of those traditions. Certainly you won't find Thai companies incorporating Buddhist symbolism into product designs, but that's more of a question of decorum and good taste than any perception of insulting the faith.

jason

re: Heyri Gallery, part 1: The pottery of Sylvia Hyman

"Name (required)" (cute, by the way)... Islam is also somewhat distinctive in the importance attached to acceptance of the word of Islam... Interpretation of the Qur'an is mostly discouraged; recitation is considered the most appropriate way for most people to use the Qur'an.

Christian tradition has had a complex relationship with interpretation, but the tradition of intepretation is quite strong. However, if you veer far outside of the lines of acceptable discourse, you still open yourself up to accusations of heresy or disrespecting the faith.

jason

re: Heyri Gallery, part 1: The pottery of Sylvia Hyman

i totally agree with Hamza.. these are pages from the Holy Quran.. & as he said: "...as the book is to be treated with utmost respect, and not deformed, disfigured, or even dirtied."

ryye

re: Heyri Gallery, part 1: The pottery of Sylvia Hyman

In the artist's eye, she likely does not think the pages have not been deformed, disfigured, or dirtied.

This is not a piece of a ruined book, but an attempt at faithfully rendering the book in clay. It challenges the impermanence and acid-sensitivity of paper. The book will be deformed by the forces of nature, but pottery, sudden trauma notwithstanding, is far more permanent. It's meant to evoke the vastness of time and space, and the human relationship to same.

Regardless of whether the text is Qur'an or a Sufi meditation, it would be unfair to accuse the artist of disrespecting the text.

jason

re: Heyri Gallery, part 1: The pottery of Sylvia Hyman

I have the utmost respect for Islam and the world's other religions.  I am not a Muslim, but I do know how I would react should Ms. Hyman have used the Hebrew text of the Torah to make a similar work of art in the way she's done here: I would applaud her for doing so.  However, if she took the actual parchment of the Torah scroll and did this I would not feel this way.

She has reproduced the Koran in artistic form, not defaced an original copy of the Koran.  Surely Muslims would understand that there is a difference?

Richard Silverstein

re: Heyri Gallery, part 1: The pottery of Sylvia Hyman

we surely ( Muslims ) do undertand that our holy book shouldn't be cut out, not even by Muslims. I believe this artwork doesn't have anything to do againts Muslims, however we'd rather she didn't use it.. she could've used random Arabic text.

ryye

re: Heyri Gallery, part 1: The pottery of Sylvia Hyman

In response to the comments you've received, I've composed the following explanation of exactly what is on the scrolls and how they were made.

  “Through Time and Space” is a wall-sculpture that I made in 2006.  The printed Arabic writing on the scrolls tells the story of Noah and the Flood.  This ancient story found in Genesis 7 of the Bible was discovered written on clay tablets in several languages of the Middle East.  The title of the sculpture suggests that stories like this, which have persisted through the ages, may be based on actual happenings that were often misinterpreted because of limited knowledge of earth, time, and space.

   The sculpture consists of scrolls mounted on a sheet of black Lucite on which I etched a pattern of radiating lines.  The scrolls are made of thin sheets of porcelain clay that are screen-printed with underglaze colors, then cut into various sizes and rolled up like scrolls of paper while the clay is still damp.  After the porcelain clay has dried completely, they are fired in a kiln to a low temperature (1800F. or 990 C.) to set the printing.  More underglaze colors are applied before firing again to a high temperature. (2220F. or 1275C).  After the scrolls have been fired and cooled, I arrange them into a dynamic composition and adhere them to the etched Lucite with a permanent epoxy.

Sylvia Hyman

May 2007

Sylvia Hyman

re: Heyri Gallery, part 1: The pottery of Sylvia Hyman

>> we surely ( Muslims ) do undertand that our holy book shouldn't be cut out, not even by Muslims. <<

It is very sad that the Muslim religion is unable to withstand even artistic attempts to better understand and shed light on what is so important to you and which has the potential enlighten the rest of the world of Islam's strengths which you so clearly see.

At the very least, such strong and (often) violent reactions do an excellent job of painting a convincing picture of absolute intolerance toward those who do not share your beliefs.

In my life's experiences, most other spiritual beliefs are strong enough to withstand outside attacks on the equivalent symbols important in our spirituality as they are symbols of a powerful connection which creates a bond which goes far beyond paper and words... and too strong to be broken by malicious actions and words of those who do not share the same.

Do you, as Muslims, understand that the harsh words posted here against a ninety year old artist who is simply trying to artistically address a subject which is now part of our daily lives does far more damage to your symbols than understanding and dialog might foster?

Islam is presented to non believers as a peaceful force... but, if I elect not to embrace that religion, I pose the question to those who so strongly object to this obvious work of the heart... "Do I need to live in fear?"

Respectfully, but sincerely,

Beverly Howard

Beverly Howard

re: Heyri Gallery, part 1: The pottery of Sylvia Hyman

Sylvia, thank you for coming by and talking about your work.

Beverly, I would like to say that I am pleased that my Muslim visitors have raised their concerns in a very civil manner. Although there's a lot of passion (especially in the "shame on her" comment early on), there's no hint of hostility or violence in the words of the commenters so far. I've certainly seen far more aggressive responses to perceived slights of faith from people who claim to be Christian.

jason