Impromptu: The World in a Collage

Mariano Akerman
Técnica mixta | Mixed media | Technique mixte, 20 x 24.2 cm
• Dühring-Patel Collection, Berlin

An Inner Constellation relating to the dynamic nature of impulse, Impromptu was first a relatively simple automatism. Only later it became more elaborate and symbolic.

In its revised version, Impromptu features a central motif, whose origin can be traced back to a Map of the World depicted by Heinrich Bünting in the late sixteenth century. That Map presents a clover-shaped world, with Jerusalem at the center. There, Europe, Asia and Africa converge. Jerusalem becomes thus the center of the world and the Holy City of the three continents.

Heinrich Bünting (Buenting/Bunting, 1545-1606), Map of the World as a Clover (Die Welt als Kleberblat), woodcut from Itinerarium sacra scripturae, Magdeburg, 1581. National Library, Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

In Bünting's Map, the world is symbolically represented by a three-leafed clover, which not accidentally was also symbolic of that cartographer’s birthplace, Hannover.
Initially, the Map of the World was a black-and-white print (woodcut). Its later version involved the application of color and the differentiation of the continents via the use of distinct pigments.

After Heinrich Bünting, Map of the World or Cloverleaf Map (from Itinerarium Sacra Scripturae), color engraving, 1588. Mappa Mundi, Knokke.

It is noteworthy that in such versions of the German Map the American continent is marginal and remains excluded from the central three-leafed motif, i.e. disconnected from the center of the world.
Curiously enough, other important areas of the world are depicted in analogous terms (when not obliterated altogether). The insular aspect of England, for instance, is geographically justifiable, but that of Denmark and Sweden rendered as a single territorial mass, disconnected from the European continent and notably amputated, is ethically objectionable.

Mariano Akerman, Impromptu (revised state), Manila, July 2007. Crayon, watercolor and collage, 20 x 24.2 cm. Duehring-Patel Collection, Berlin

In 2001, Impromptu was a closed composition. Only in 2007, with the artist’s desire of associating this image to Bünting’s Map, it became an open design. To achieve such an association in a direct way, the format of Impromptu was to be changed and Jerusalem had to become its real center. Such requirements led to the suppression of part of the original composition. Yet, the initial appearance of Impromptu, its original format and composition, have been preserved in a photograph taken when the work was still in progress.

As Einstein once put it, "Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. But imagination encircles the world."

Impromptu, picture, comments and layout by Mariano Akerman © Copyright 2007 Akermariano. All rights reserved.

Patel's poem "Born to Marvel" is worth to be included here, for it is consonant with Impromptu. I think of Patel's work as a little eternity and a great poem:

How wondrous this Earth
And the silvers speckled sky
In the limitless expanse of space,
Whose hands, whose power,
Whose wish, whose grace
Propels this worldly vessel
From a place unknown
To an unknown place?
Should I so dare,
As dare ask why,
Dare ask where? No!
I was born but to marvel
I know, with my life
In my Maker’s care.

Ronnie Patel, Island Poems, Calcutta: Lotus, 2001, p. 7
© Ronnie Patel

Initially published in Manila, 7.7.2007


Sterella said...

Absolutely wonderful! I could look at it for hours and find worlds within worlds therein...

Ronnie Patel said...

I am honoured by your kind words and the inclusion of my poem to stand in the array of your wonderful collages. I love your 'Serenity', as also the Impromptu that has been given pride of place in my collection. Many thanks for such a kind and personal gift. Warmest regards, Ronnie.

Flor Peralta said...

Lo que más me gusta de tus trabajos son las acuarelas y los collages. Me encantan tus formas y tus colores. Un beso, Flor

Françoise et Marcel said...

Cher Mariano, Nous avons admiré tes dons artistiques sans pourtant comprendre certains dessins ou collages très abstraits. Le texte en anglais ne pouvait guère nous aider. L'armonie des couleurs nous a plus. L'ensemble de ta création nous a étonnés par ses contrastes inattendus. Avec notre amitié. Françoise et Marcel.