The meaning of empty space

Walking on museum, there might find two different tendencies on space. Western paintings are to fill up the canvas. The subject is the main, individual, and spotlighted on its center. The question of with what material it fills has changed and made the price differ, remaining oil-based painting still orthodox in fine art world. Yes, we need to occupy and fill up the space, not only in artistic sight but also in the public street, the economic wealth agenda, or in basic human needs. We use many divine colours, different approaches, almost all we can observe in spectrum. It is considered primitive and uneducated those who see the filled-ness only with black and white nowadays (By the way, black, grey and white are not even called colours. They are not colours tactically).

Oriental way of thinking is not to fill up the whole and leave the space empty. It’s not about individualistic but being a part of the whole, if you may name it group, community or collectivism no matter what. It often is considered a waste of utility, for it still is considered the space where you can extract every possibility out of. Leaving the space empty is about being there as a nature, not THE nature. Is it a arrogance of humanity if we define ourselves the only nature, trying to occupy this space on our own and extract all other beings out of it? Yes, definitely. 

Now I see many oriental painters being famous in Europe and Americas, for they have brought new perspective on the painting market. This newness is priceless of course, but I admit that sometimes it bothers me that they only have brought the oriental technique on how to draw, or the painting material of with what to draw. No philosophy is embedded. They are just as a western painting, with westerners’ taste, for their taste and by their taste. Sure, oriental world-as refered asain world by many- doesn’t exist but as an counter reflection of the west as Edward Said declared it long ago. Of course we will find many Asian metropolis having become anglosaxonaized, sometimes more anglosaxonaized than Anglo-Saxon region. They we find the same Anglo-Saxon supermacy that has reported over years in Latin America. 

What about the space then? Have we reached by now the era that starts to leave spaces empty in our painting? Have Our museums where thought-inspiring, -provoking, institutions been ready to produce and reflect new way of thinking for normal recipients of art? Do we at least dream about it? Or haven’t we still not learnt anything from the history?

(Painted by the author, donated to Madam Melon.)


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