The Theory Of Strings/Theory Of Everything In The Modern (Ink) Painting Practice?
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  • Post published:13/05/2021
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“There are many common bonds between science and art. They both begin with noticing and recording patterns—spatial patterns, patterns in time, patterns of process and behavior. They both elaborate, reformulate, and ultimately link together patterns, in nature and meaning, which initially appeared as unrelated. Both art and science are involved with order-disorder transitions and the creation of tension and the relief of tension. Both endeavors are deeply rooted in culture and heritage; both expand our awareness and sensitivity to what is happening in nature, and in ourselves.” ~ Dr.Frank Oppenheimer (1912-1985) American particle physicist, founder of the Exploratorium in San Francisco

“The greatest scientists are artists as well.” ~ Albert Einstein (1879-1955), from The Expanded Quotable Einstein, collected and edited by Alice Calaprice, 2000, p. 245

On the bank of the Sava River, a modern ink painting by Alfred Freddy Krupa (2017)

On the bank of the Sava River, a modern ink painting by Alfred Freddy Krupa (2017)

After the publication of my article titled “Sumi-e Painting From the Perspective of a Traditional Academically-trained European Artist” in 2013 for Beyond Calligraphy magazine, I received several requests to clarify (and expand) certain points and theses I presented there. Here I will try to explain what I could call “verbalizing the revival of a fundamental cognitive-creative process,” which I have intuitively applied almost from the very beginning of my expression as a painter and drawer and intentionally for more than 20 years.

“They are shaman-artists who constantly strive to look into the blueprint of creation beyond the visual crowd and the noise of superficial details, the one on task to explore and communicate with a primary game of opposite values during composition and construction of a coherent imagery. They paint from both levels, the personal and the intimate and the universal one which emerges from life-giving tension. Sumi-e Painting From the Perspective of a Traditional Academically-trained European Artist.” ~ A.F.Krupa, Beyond Calligraphy, 2013

What is this about? I must admit that I have found explanation of my own art work, which I approached based on the inner charge and feeling, outside the field of art — in the sphere of theoretical physics, in the so-called “theory of strings.”

A tree and reflection, a modern ink painting by Alfred Freddy Krupa (2017)Simply put, the theory of strings is the theoretical framework for understanding all the powers in the universe (the so-called “theory of everything”) and claims that all matter and energy in the universe consists of one-dimensional strings. Also, the theory of strings claims that the universe does not have a 3 + 1 dimension (3 are so-spatial dimensions — point, line, space — and time is the fourth), but at least a dozen (or more) spatial-temporal dimensions.

The more I have read about the theory of strings, the more I have understood that my artistic exploration and occupation of a one-dimensional (or “non-existent”) line and its movement through an illusory “non-dimensional” space, i.e., a one-dimensional plane (in a “short section of time”) as a fundamental building/ the constructive element of the painting/drawing corresponds to the scientific study of the idea of a one-dimensional string (strings) as the fundamental material of all matter and energy in the universe.

I realized that pulling the line of the ink (or something else) to show the bare essence, i.e., the reduction of the expressive means only to the choice of direction, length and thickness of the line (Minimalism, Reductivism, Hakubyou), has a multidimensional (from 3 + 1) and a mathematical basis (something that the brain makes in the semi/multi-dimensional level, and the artist perceives as “a sense/feeling” and “a spontaneity”(Informalism/Art Enformel?), but basically represents a mathematical fraction, a fragment, a vector (as we have in music, for example) and where the mind of the artist just recognizes and monitors already existent “gravitational” forces, directions, building blocks on the “blank” surface of the board, canvas, paper, where the mind of an artist follows through the insight into another “alternative” dimension the most common/most meaningful inner, i.e., hidden, forms which we see not in “material” nature. They are perceived by the eye of the observer through the drawing process described here.

It is this “blueprint of the creation and the way of research” and the “life-giving tension” mentioned in the previous text.

What was interesting to me in introspection and self-analysis (which this is!) is that I certainly do not belong to that group of artists (definitely valuable and inspired) who have begun to create certain forms and indulge in certain visual expressions as a direct response to the knowledge of the existence of the string theory and as an attempt to visualize/illustrate this theory either as an independent initiative or in collaboration with theoretical physicists.

Contrary to that, I belong to that “group” (type of contemporary painter) who create a contemporary visual expression and artistic language but derive from traditional expressive techniques and directions (hence the cognitive-creative processes described above may possibly be applied to the whole “group”). In my case it is about the amalgam of the West (minimalism, reductivism, expressionism, informalism, etc.) and East Asian (zen?) practices and approaches.

However, terms such as “hidden space dimensions,” “weird curved spaces,” “duality,” “mirror symmetry,” and others found in the physical theory of strings are exactly the terms that we have to apply if we want to accurately describe some of the arts (by certain art theorists “traditional and non-contemporary”) approaches and techniques such as this basic calligraphy and ink painting (Sumi-E) in particular.

How to interpret it? Where does this timeless contemporaneous state come from?

It is possible to correctly interpret it if we recognize and acknowledge the next creative mechanism: the authentic “artistic mind,” that is, when it functions in synchrony with the assumed multidimensional “reality,” behaves (“vibrates”) according to the nature and structure of this reality (here it would be the assumed “string,” which is then its own structure/architecture) apparently spontaneously (like surrealistic automatic drawing and painting?), pulling those lines that, as enlarged one-dimensional strings, describe “gravitational forces and the most logical paths through seemingly empty and non-existent space” on the paper surface in an attempt to present the motif essence.

Also because of this, the “artistic mind” in some form may be preceded by or parallel to the “scientific mind” and hence it comes to the same or similar insights by using another approach (classical dichotomy rational/intellectual vs. irrational/sensual that is abolished with the moment of cognition).

Great scientists such as Albert Einstein, Michael Faraday and Nikola Tesla all reported that they used mental imagery when describing their thought processes. Studies have also found that mental imagery plays a central role during the construction and evaluation of many scientific “thought experiments,” in which a scientist mentally assesses the implications of a particular hypothesis.

Research and creation continues. Possibly toward the ideal of the Artist-scientist (the one of the Jungian archetypes).

Image Credits

Images are by Alfred Krupa – All Rights Reserved
Alfred’s bio pic  by Dinko Neskusil


Guest Artist Bio
Alfred Krupa

Alfred Krupa Graduated (MFA, in 1995 at the Academy of Fine Arts, University of Zagreb (est. 1907 as the Royal College for Arts and Crafts, in Croatian: Kraljevsko zemaljsko više obrazovalište za umjetnost i umjetni obrt). Krupa also studied Art History at the University of Zagreb, Faculty of Philosophy (1997/1998) and in 1998/99 as the postgraduate research student at the Tokyo Gakugei University (東京学芸大学) or Gakudai (学大) as the very first artist awarded with the Japanese Government Scholarship (Monbusho). Both non-degree. In 2005 Krupa finished additional art education study and has been given formal permanent title of “Professor of Drawing and Painting” by the Croatian State Institute for Education (today “Education and Teacher Training Agency”- ETTA/AZOO). Fmr Visiting Professor at the University of Zagreb, Fmr Guest Lecturer at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb (ALU), Hon.Prof. in Fine Arts at the Albizu University Miami Campus. Krupa was or is (with his work) present on 6 continents. Awarded several times.

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