11 July 2016

Relics Scroll 5: Nobody's Perfect

For my RELICS exhibit, I made ten scrolls bearing American English platitudes that could be construed to have philosophical or spiritual meanings. See all of the scroll posts here.

Everybody makes mistakes, right? It goes without saying that nobody's perfect.

I used a Japanese image/drawing for this scroll called an enso. Enso is a brush-drawn circle, a calligraphic spiritual practice in which the calligrapher makes an uninhibited brushstrokes to express continuity, balance, wholeness and completeness. Enso masters strive for perfection, yet every enso is unique and thus the practice expresses the beauty of both perfection and imperfection.

There are several religions that claim that their prophets or adherents are perfect or can achieve perfection. When I hung this show, I put this scroll near a print of the Virgin Mary, who as the mother of Jesus (said to be a perfect human being) is believed to be the most pure and perfect woman who ever lived. Mohammed is believed by Muslims to be perfect, Buddha is said to have achieved a perfected state. But the text I chose to pair with my enso is a translation of a Sanskrit mantra. It reads:
Om. That is perfect. This is perfect. From the perfect springs the perfect. If the perfect is taken from the perfect, the perfect remains. Om.
  My own feeling about perfection is that there is a perfection in the sum of the parts that can rarely be seen in the parts themselves.

Tech notes: I made the enso with watercolor pigments and a large brush (this was the seventh enso I made). The large text was stenciled, the small text was hand written with colored pencil.

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