Reflections related to transduality, duality and an integral view.

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Transdual View
Thursday, January 02, 2003  
Visual Representations & Transdual View

Sleeping TwinsWhen I started painting and drawing in my mid-teens, I had a strong sense that the most powerful paintings were those that would embrace all polarities: Whole and detail, abstraction and the figurative, aesthetics and content, timelessness and reflecting our time, shading and color, line and tone, robustness and elegance.

When I later saw the paintings of Odd Nerdrum, I realized that this was finally a contemporary painter who beautifully and strongly expressed this transdual and embracing view. Some examples:

1. Whole and parts. There is a strong and organic whole, and an immense attention to details beautifully integrated the whole.
2. Figurative and abstraction. There is a naturalism that makes human bodies come alive, and an abstraction in composition and background that is comparable with that of the best abstract painters.
3. Color and Shade. Vibrant colors and immense attention to light and shade.
4. Aesthetics and content. Beauty and message are strongly present.
5. Matter and spirit. Bodies infused with a sense of the numinous.

Our relationship with polarities goes beyond art.

In our culture, we are trained to emphasize one end of a polarity and deemphasize the other. Sometimes we take it further, assign values and see one end as "good" and the other as "bad". We fracture our world that way, and remove ourselves further from the nature of ourselves, the Earth and the Universe.

Modern art often reflects this blindly dualistic view, embracing one end of a polarity and rejecting the other. The same can be seen throughout our civilization. It is a view that leads to a sense of constant conflict, and to choices made out of blind attractions and aversions. We keep distance to one end of the polarity and seek the other, which leads to a neurotic relationship with our world.

The alternative is to embrace polarities. To become intimate and familiar with both ends of polarities - as they are expressed in ourselves and the outer world. Through this, we are freed up to make more consious choices of what we want to express - based on what seems appropriate in the situation. We act less from habit and aversions or attractions, and more from awareness and choice.

The world is a seamless whole, embracing all polarities. Everything just is.

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