Eastern Influences On Modern Art. Essay

930 words - 4 pages

Eastern Influences on Modern Culture The opening of feudal Japan, in 1853, to the western world created an influx of commercial goods from the east into western cultures. Along with ordinary goods came works of art as well as ideas that were in great contrast to those of modern western cultures; these ideas and methods had a significant influence on the development of modern culture in the west. Most notably eastern ideas of space and time had the most significant impact on modern culture, especially in the areas of art and science. Eastern philosophy had an effect on the work of western artists such as Cezanne and Rodin, and these ideas were given validity in modern culture by discoveries in physics long after their conception by eastern cultures. Eastern concepts of space mass and form drastically differ from those of western cultures. The introduction of these new ideas into western society had significant influence on modern art. In western art empty space was considered taboo; artists would fill every last inch of their canvases with things. To western thinking art was something and space was nothing, so emptiness was not acceptable for art (Shlain 161). To eastern cultures space was something that held the possibility for the creation of anything. Anything and everything came from nothing, from the "void". The concept of the void was very foreign to western culture, in the west space was never changed, in the east space had the capacity to evolve. The physical manifestation of these differing notions of space in art can be seen in ukioye, in the works of Hokusai such as "The Poet Ono Noh", where figures and images seem to float in space with no discernable background or environment. The difference can also be seen in Japanese use of perspective. Unlike traditional perspective where the point of view lies somewhere off the canvas, Japanese works contain the point of view within themselves making it impossible to determine the position of the viewer in relation to the objects in the piece. Such perspectives can be seen in the works of Hokusai in his series "36 Views of Mountain Fuji", very contrary to western perspective. The Japanese art of origami is probably the best example of the difference between western and eastern views on space and mass. To the western artists a flat piece of paper is an unchangeable surface to draw on, and as its form cannot change the drawings also cannot change. The origami artist however takes this flat, empty, unchangeable surface and folds it in complex patterns to create a form or figure. The origami artist creates something out of nothing. Eastern influence can be seen in...

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