My Name Is Red: Orhan Pamuk

There are books that you are unsure about the beauty of while reading. But like the smell of coffee they stick to your clothes exuding a certain effect that affects others but leaves the wearer oblivious. Such I think is the effect “My Name is Red” had on me. I like to think I have an opinion about the book but there is this nagging feeling that my outlook has been much more affected than I care to admit or am capable of analyzing. The book was the winner.

Ottomans, Persians and Art

Orhan Pamuk has created a city, an epoch that is intricate, and with a unique art perspective. Islamic art and perspectives contrasted with Frankish art and technique. It is intricate so much so that I felt I benefited from just reading the book and came away with the thought process that goes into creating and appreciating art. Like with any artistic analysis, it can easily dip into pretentiousness, or in other words, over-analysis. However I am shedding what little reservations I had about people who stare at art for hours.

In my own muddled and bleary world view I steer clear from labels. However Post Modern is the word that strikes me. Like Milan Kundera, Orhan Pamuk spins around like a dervish, establishing concentric rings of truths and interpretations that provides complex narratives and motives. At times, frustratingly minute details of art are reemphasized, but isn’t that always the case. If you are a dervish, entrancement is a path to walk. Tough to follow, making sense of what makes sense, discarding the rest, without judgement and always enchanted. Or maybe I am dreaming.

Simmering Sensuality

As we walk through medieval Istanbul, redolent of pomegranate trees, dried fruit markets, harrying clothiers and cypress trees, you sense the steaming underbelly of sensuality and licentiousness permeating the book. While it should not surprise me, I was still surprised. And that is why I think I am lucky to have found Orhan.

In depicting art, there is a maniacal obsession with depicting virgin purity, a maddening absence of style so that perfection is as much about retraced lines as reaffirmed values. In many ways it is a perfectly fine way of expression.

This is old fashioned story telling. Timeless stories. Fabled places. When men rode horses and women were veiled.

Art for?

For whom does art exist? As an expression of the artist, it could be a conflict or celebration arising, forced, or coaxed out of the artist. In recording and re experiencing it, they re awake and relive those moments of ecstasy. How pure is that simulated moment? Should emotions evoke art or art used to evoke emotions? When a dancer dances, do they immerse themselves, flitting between a transcendental unconsciousness of mind, living purely in an ideal, and at times, also consciously aware in their mind’s eye of the power they evoke in the audience if there is one. Does art mutate on why it is performed? When singers and dancers and artists create something knowing their particular rendition is beyond reproach, their best effort, would they destroy it, withholding the urge to exhibit it?

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