paint pictures which can become objects of meditation, paint pictures of the inner sky of buddhas. The modern painting is pathological. If you look at Picasso’s paintings you cannot look long, you will start feeling uneasy. You cannot have Picasso paintings in your bedroom, because then you will have nightmares. If you meditate on a Picasso painting long enough you will go mad, because those paintings are out of Picasso’s madness.
Go to Ajanta, Ellora, Khajuraho, Konarak, and you will see a totally different world of creativity. Looking at the statue of a buddha, something in you starts falling in tune. Sitting silently with a buddha statue, you start becoming silent. The very posture, the very shape, the face, the closed eyes, the silence that surrounds a marble statue will help you to get connected with your own inner sources of silence.
Gurdjieff used to say that there are two kinds of art. One he used to call objective art, and the other he used to call subjective art. Subjective art is absolutely private, personal. Picasso’s art is subjective art; he is simply painting something without any vision for the person who will see it, without any idea of the person who will look at it. He is simply pouring out his own inner illness; it is helpful for himself, it is therapeutic.
I am not saying that Picasso should stop painting, because if he stops painting he is bound to go mad […] He is suffering from many illnesses, all the illness that humanity is suffering from. He simply represents humanity, he is very representative
He represents the whole madness that is happening in millions
of people. He is a sensitive soul; he has become so attuned with
the pathology of mankind that it has become his own pathology.
Hence the appeal of his paintings, otherwise they are ugly. Hence
his great name – because he deserves it, he represents the
age. This is Picasso’s age: what you cannot say about yourself,
he has said it. What you cannot pour out of yourself, he has poured
it on the canvas. But it is a subjective phenomenon. It is therapeutic
to him, but it is dangerous to everybody else
The ancient art was not only art; it was, deep down, mysticism.
Deep down, it was out of meditation. It was objective, in Gurdjieff’s
terminology. It was made so that if somebody meditates over it,
he starts falling into those depths where God lives.
The Book of Wisdom, chapter 24, question
Now, in the
name of modern painting, you are hanging vomited, nauseous, sickening
things in your rooms. In the name of modern music you are simply
getting into crazier spaces within you. It is subjective art.
Objective art means something that helps you to become centred,
that helps you to become healthy and whole. Watching the Taj Mahal
in the full moon, you will fall into a very meditative space.
Looking at the statue of Buddha, just sitting silently with the
statue of the Buddha, something in you will become silent, something
in you will become still, something in you will become buddhalike.
It is objective art, it has tremendous significance.
objective art has disappeared from the world because mystics have
disappeared from the world. Objective art is possible only when
somebody has attained to a higher plane of being; it is created
by those who have reached the peak.
In the ancient philosophies, cosmology was one of the most important
things to be discussed. Now there seems to be no cosmos, no cosmology.
The whole world seems to be in a chaos, as if all is accidental.
Nothing seems to be essential, intrinsically valuable; everything
seems to be just happening as an accident. And this is reflected
in everything. It is reflected in art, it is reflected in science,
it is reflected even in religion.
We need again a cosmology. I know the world IS a chaos; that is
a challenge for human consciousness to create a cosmos out of
it. It is a tremendously valuable opportunity to create a cosmos.
Just to say that it is a chaos, remain with it as it is, is to
fall below human dignity; it is not accepting the challenge. It
is really a great challenge to change yourself AND the world.
The Dhammapada, Vol. 9, ch 4, q2
If you have put in the painting a
certain pattern of neurosis, whoever will see the painting and
think about the painting and look at the painting will have the
feeling of the same kind of illness arising in him – the
same nausea, the same sickness. The painting will become a mandala;
it will become a yantra. That’s how in the East we have
used paintings: as yantras.
A pattern can be created so that if you
look at it, it gives silence. A pattern can be created so that
if you look at it, it makes you tense. The objective art, Gurdjieff
says, is the art which leads people towards silence, towards blissfulness,
towards inner harmony, towards grace. And the art that leads people
towards pathology, neurosis, perversion, is not really art. You
can call it art, but that is a misnomer.
Zen The Path of Paradox, vol 3 ch 8,
Subjective art is from the mind,
and is out of anguish. Objective art – the Taj Mahal, the
caves of Ellora and Ajanta, the temples of Khajuraho – has
come from meditative people. Out of their love, out of their silence,
they wanted to share; it is their contribution to the world.
The Western artist has lived under a very heavy burden. It is time that he should be made aware that there is something more beyond mind. First reach to that beyond, and then you can create stars; and they will not only be a great joy to you, they will also be a great joy for those who see them.
The Golden Future, ch 23 q 3