Dieter Haist

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Zen Pictures


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The Truth of Being is a Shadow of the Truth of Zen‘‘(Rafael Capurro)

The series ‘Zen Pictures’ by Dieter Haist seem to comemmorate these shadows of the truth of being, because they volatile fragments of a greater realness.

In the traditional Zen painting the truth of BEING is already reflected BEFORE the thinking, BEFORE the language and BEFORE the actand cannot be expressed in any language with any word. The portraiture of this experience is therefore based on the moment, the shadow or the absolute nothingness. Therefore Zen painting exists BEFORE ‘thinking’ the picture.

‘Hear the clapping of a hand’ is a challenge of the Zen-Master for his student to practice this ‘BEFORE’ thinking, the process that takes place before the logical and causal thinking. The student assumes the sound of the clapping of two hands is caused by the two hands. When the student learns to leave the road of logic and causality the phenomenon itself in its unfoundedness might appear.

The Zen painting asks for the complete identification of the artist with the instrument of his painting technique. It is the very intense to experience self-absorption, the concentration on the essential within the emptiness of a white sheet. There is no hesitation, no change, no distraction, no correction – once executed, the result eludes from any manipulation. The picture IS.

It comes mental into existence, not during the process of the conscious picture production. It comes into existence BEFORE it can be perceived by the consciousness.

Critical for the origination is the right moment, the complete conviction, the ideal conformance, the highest tenseness and the maximum dissociation. If logic and deliberation slide between color and paper, the tenseness, the effect and the expression, are lost. Every stroke oft he brush has its own individuality. The painting simply exists.

Yet it is the artist Haist himself who uses the tradition of the Zen painting for his own expression. He is far from just copying a technique. What might look coincidental and spontaneous like sketchily symbols, are under the absolute control of the artist. During the origination,various degrees of celerity become important. Haist decides in every moment which expression, movement and direction will dominate the painting.

Already in the nineteen twenties modern minimalism of western characteristic has discovered its roots in the tradition of the Asian Zen. Time and again western artists take on the techniques of the various Zen schools in their painting, comparable to an act of a complete cleaning.

In the Zen paintings of Dieter Haist the space is taken into possession. He starts at zero and create room for new directions. What is being foreshadowed and left out, if often more important and more expressive than what is been painted. Sparingness of means, the reduction tothe essential, exists like a graphical stenography.

‘’Great opulence must look empty, that is what makes its effect inexhaustible.’’

In this respect the Zen paintings are reduced lingual and graphical elements, comparable to an ostinato in the music or the driving energy within the minimal music.

Ingrid Roberts, 1995    <<