After my last post I watched a video by calligrapher Tomoko Kawao in which she mentions the practice of Rinsho, where the calligrapher copies the work of ancient masters in order to enhance their own skills.
From what I have gleaned, Rinsho is not about crating the exact copy of given masterpiece but rather, it’s about the energy, spirit, dynamics, writing style, proportions, line characteristics, and so on. Rinsho is about copying the emotions, the mental state, the attitude, and the mood, that a given masterpiece comprises (see: http://www.ryuurui.com/blog/the-proper-way-to-study-chinese-japanese-calligraphy).
This interests me as regards the works I have made recently, such as the image below:
Having made this original image (and many others like it) at a particular moment in time, I’d been wondering whether I could do more with it. The practice of Rinsho gave me the answer.
Much of my work is about reimagining a past moment by trying to see that moment as it was when it was ‘now’. We can never know of course what a past moment was really like, but by understanding what makes the present moment for us ‘present’ we can use that knowledge to find our way back in time, at least just a little.
Copying the images I made – in the style of a calligrapher copying the work of an ancient master – seems to me to reflect this idea. As it says above, it’s not abut making a faithful copy (we can never go back in time) but using our experience to see something of the ‘energy, spirit, dynamics, writing style, proportions, line characteristics, and so on’. It’s about ‘copying’ the emotions, the mental state, the attitude, and the mood.
I have therefore started to use these original sketches as texts and to copy them, not to produce an exact copy, but to get a sense of that moment when they were first made.