The Effortless Intimacy of Art, Rupert Spira

  • Holger 
Transcript

00:08
I’ll just tell you one story from the
00:13
very early years when I was training
00:15
with Michael called you I was in my I
00:21
was 20 or 21 and him and I trained with
00:29
Michael card.you he was eight years old
00:30
when I went to live and work with him
00:34
and I spent the last two years of his
00:35
life with him and he was then he was
00:40
like an old Zen master he wasn’t old Zen
00:44
master but without the label he was
00:48
fierce and tender and cantankerous and
00:51
irascible and unpredictable and whatever
00:56
you could say about him you could say
00:58
the opposite with equal conviction so it
01:04
was a little bit like like kind of
01:10
living with a big old wild cat you just
01:14
had no idea what to expect and I was a
01:20
painfully shy 20 year old and he was a
01:24
man at the end of his life who had
01:28
completely mastered his totally mastered
01:32
his art and so I was some you know this
01:40
isn’t in Komal in a remote part of
01:43
England in this on the edge of this more
01:45
so it’s a very kind of remote to
01:48
situation and so I had been making bowls
01:54
one day and the way the way that the
02:01
apprenticeship worked was like a
02:02
traditional kind of apprenticeship where
02:05
you just copied what your master did he
02:07
never said anything to you he never
02:09
demonstrated to you he never said
02:10
anything he just you just had to you had
02:13
to find your way
02:14
but occasionally these comments or these
02:21
situations with words would be provoked
02:24
that would somehow are in orientate you
02:29
in the right way and this morning was
02:31
one such morning I had been making bowls
02:33
and I’d been there for about six months
02:35
I’d filled up all the shelves with bowls
02:37
I thought I was really beginning to get
02:39
somewhere and it was the pottery was in
02:45
an old skittle alley so it’s a very long
02:48
narrow room and it had a door in both
02:49
ends and I was at one end and halfway
02:52
through the morning the door opened at
02:54
the other end and Michael came in and I
02:56
remember feeling this little this
02:59
consultative swelling of pride I thought
03:03
now Michaels gonna see what I’m what
03:06
I’ve been doing these last six months
03:08
how well I’m getting on so I’m not sure
03:13
if he did it on purpose he felt I’m
03:15
quite sure he didn’t do it on pass but
03:16
he came very slowly up to where I was
03:20
working to allow the feeling of pride to
03:22
really it’s a grow and the expectation
03:28
and then and then he came and he sat in
03:31
front is stood in front of the shelves
03:33
which were in front of my wheel was here
03:36
in the shelves was here and so he sat in
03:38
front of me here and he was just he just
03:40
in this very kind of lazy way just look
03:42
back and forth like they say along the
03:46
bowls is completely expressionless and
03:49
it went on forever it seemed to and then
03:54
when he finished he turned to me and he
03:56
said Rupert you haven’t begun to take
04:00
this shape into yourself and then he
04:03
left
04:10
so that was the training that was how it
04:12
worked it was a kind of Zen training
04:16
without the label and of course I was I
04:23
was just totally just completely
04:26
demolished by this comment there was no
04:31
X there’s no follow-up he just walked
04:33
out and I was just left what the hell do
04:39
I do now
04:40
where do I go where do I go I thought I
04:43
was doing so while I thought I was doing
04:44
everything I should be doing and
04:47
everything that I thought was all the
04:50
progress I thought I was making was is
04:52
just totally empty so this kind of it I
04:59
was just left with this question hanging
05:01
and somehow this it didn’t initiate the
05:09
process because the process was always
05:10
already happening but it deepened this
05:13
process in me of what what I was doing
05:18
what I was making how I was making it
05:21
what is the meaning of what I’m doing
05:23
what is its purpose how to make
05:25
something that could that could
05:36
how to make an object that could be
05:38
really beautiful what is required so all
05:44
these answers were all these questions
05:46
were precipitated in me of course there
05:51
were no answers but I just carried on
06:01
and it was a process as Michael said of
06:03
taking this shape deeply into yourself
06:06
not just this the shape at the whole
06:09
process which means getting to know your
06:16
your materials yourself your form
06:20
whatever your form is words music
06:23
sculpture three-dimensional form color
06:26
whatever it is getting to know your form
06:29
like you get to know the alphabet so
06:32
that it’s just it’s like an extension of
06:34
your body just use your arms your hands
06:37
and and then the clay it’s just it’s
06:39
just it becomes your body and you have
06:42
this total intimacy and fluidity and
06:45
ease and there’s an absolutely no
06:49
personal agenda that comes in the way
06:52
you’re not trying to express anything
06:54
personal alone and I remember it was it
07:01
was years later after I had left Michael
07:04
he died I would start my flat my first
07:06
studio and my second studio in
07:08
instructure and it was when I was well
07:19
into my into my forties 20 years or so
07:21
later I remember a feeling I had one day
07:25
and I was making a making a large bowl
07:28
so this was over 20 years late after
07:31
this event I remember making this large
07:33
bowl and I had this feeling during it
07:39
that I can’t really describe it it was
07:45
totally effortless I it was like it
07:50
sounds it sounds so trite to say it but
07:52
it was like it was just like this this
07:56
kind of love poem that was going on this
08:00
this this back and forth between between
08:03
myself and and and the clay I felt the
08:05
total ease that I could speak to it it
08:09
would speak to me with dialogue with I
08:12
thought this tote
08:14
fluidity and the end of it it just it
08:18
formulated itself that very simply in my
08:20
mind I just had the thought I can do
08:23
whatever I want now what I meant by that
08:27
was I have total totally at ease with
08:32
this medium not total control over it
08:35
but just total ease it can just it can
08:40
just make itself through me the object
08:42
can just it’s just like it makes it so I
08:44
I just don’t do anything this is like
08:47
this is like a just gentle walk in there
08:50
in the party was so effortless and
08:54
intimate and natural and and I
08:57
remembered then Michaels comment twenty
09:01
three or four years earlier and and I
09:04
remember thinking then I wish Michael
09:06
could be here now that wasn’t said with
09:10
any pride then there was no pride in it
09:12
I would like Michael to have walked into
09:15
the studio then and have walked up to it
09:17
but not because I was expecting a great
09:20
accolade from him not because I was
09:22
feeling proud about what I was doing but
09:24
because I I knew that he would see that
09:28
I had taken that shape into myself
10:04
thank you

 

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