The Soul in a Collage

Mariano Akerman
Jardín indokushi | Hindu Kushi Garden | Jardin Hindou Kouchi
collage, 45 x 25.5 cm
Hosai Rahimi Collection, Islamabad
© MAC. Todos los derechos reservados | All Rights Reserved | Tous droits réservés. Right-click on the image may enlarge it

According to La Font de Saint-Yenne, the historian-painter is the only one who paints the soul; the other painters only paint for the eyes (Réflexions, 1752).

Yes, I paint a personal history, yet mine has to do with the ones of other people as well. The Hindu Kush is a region in Central Asia, one marked by an intense reality. This finds a visual echo in the colors and textures of a 2011 collage, the Hindu Kushi Garden. Central to it is a mango tree, with delicious fruit. In the collage, the root of the mango tree remains visible to the viewer. And there are also four green-and-black plants around the mango tree.
Unmistakably oriental is the conceptual nature of Hindu Kushi Garden, a flat composition of overlapping planes which evoke the structure of a number of Mughal miniatures.
As in oriental art, also here there are some areas where the figure can be easily associated with other compositional elements in the background and vice-versa. In fact, all the leaves of the mango tree and other seven prop-like rectangles (which sustain the whole composition) share the very same textures and colors. Such rich areas are common ground to both tree and garden.
Motifs of trees, plants and flowers are often present in my work since (at least) 1981. It seems that I have been depicting them for some three decades. And such motifs establish sort of a dialog with other elements present in my works (e.g., Friendship, collage, Philippines, 2005). I am aware of the traditional symbolism of the tree and of what some poets describe as its generous nature. Doesn't man and tree present quite a number of common traits? And isn't man the tree of the field? As Zach puts it in a 1999 poem, both of them have much in common,

Because the man is the tree of the field;
Like the tree, man grows up.
Like the man, the tree also gets uprooted,
Because the man is the tree of the field;
Like the tree, he aspires upwards.
Like the man, he gets burnt in fire.
Because the man is the tree of the field;
Like the tree, he is thirsty to water.
Like the man, thirsty he remains.
Because man is the tree of the field.

And, above all, both of them are living beings. In a celebratory manner, the Hindu Kushi Garden presents a lilac background, being this color (at least for me) typical of this area. Such color harmonizes with a purple butterfly visible not far from the mango tree. And you may ask, "why a purple butterfly?" Well, just because la vita è bella. —Mariano Akerman

The Giving Tree
¿No es acaso el árbol un hombre?


GiGi desde el Centro said...

¡Muy lindo! Me gustó de primera instancia (antes de leer el texto). Tuve una comunicación directa, perfecta e inmediata. Fue un diálogo con los ojos. Será que tengo bastantes lazos con tu obra, con tu manera de expresarte. Y eso de “la vita è bella,” lo dice todo. Estás contento... ¡qué suerte! Que sigas siempre así. Un beso grande. Gina

Gab Stegmann said...

Mariano: “la vita è bella” indeed en tus manos como pintor, narrador, escritor, con tus colores y tus palabras. ¡Una bellísima composición del alma! Beso grande, gab ~

Babur Kamal said...

What a beautiful image !