Bensons • Blumbergs • The Legend

Bensons is not reflected in Blumbergs. Blumbergs is not reflected in Bensons. Bensons and Blumbergs are reflected in the poetic field of the Legend (from the Latin legenda – the one that has to be read), to wit, in the data of spiritual and material culture, in the pattern of the world which determines a man’s, object’s or phenomenon’s relationship with the Universe.
The Bensons Auto trade enterprise represents the Japanese cultural code, an important role in which is played by a sense of the singularity of a moment, contemplation, skill of examining the essence of things manifested in beauty. Japan is described by its ability to absorb the foreign by seamlessly knitting together the idiosyncratic with the alien. The alien is adopted via associations and allusions. This refers both to the temple, the book, the tea ceremony and to industrially manufactured objects in which functionality is balanced with the cultural settings in general.
The Japanese believe in the unity of the word and the object. The word is the determinant. The idea captured in the word determines the structure of the object, and the polysemantics of the word, stimulated and preserved by the hieroglyphic spelling, guarantees a conceptually figurative four-wheel drive.
Honda, the name of the car brand, is denoted with two hieroglyphs, •. The first one conveys the following meanings: a book, the present, the essential, the truth, temporality. The meanings of the second hieroglyph are: a rice field and rice shoots. These hieroglyphs embody the fundamental principle of Japanese life. “The creative energy released by them encourages a dialogue which is more than just a mechanical contact between the car and the driver. And in this interaction the moment of flight fills desires and dreams the likes of which we never talk about during the waking hours.”(M.Bensons)
Latvians perceive the Japanese mentality as something congenial to theirs, and not just on an intuitive level. The primal elements of IlmÇrs Blumbergs’art, such as space (emptiness), lines and the life-giving presence of the artist, are looking for answers in the fundamental values of Zen Buddhism: man’s fusion with nature, the cosmic rite, the revelation of truth in a moment of spiritual concentration.
Practically all of Blumbergs’ Book of Changes drawings (1992-1996) are part of Bensons’ private collection. So far they have only been shown in public a few at a time: in solo exhibitions at the Latvian National Museum of Art (1993) (cat.) and the United Nations’ headquarters in New York (1994), as well as in the State exhibition in Riga (1994) (cat.) and the Personal Time: The Art of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, 1946-1996 exhibition in Warsaw and St.Petersburg (1996) (cat.).
The protagonist of the Book of Changes is Time. The linear fetters of time acquire a spatial existence; they become water, earth, air, Universe, man. In mythical thought time and water are but two interpretations of the same notion. There is an ancient Latgalian word which speaks of their depth semantics: ‰alts (spurt, as in a gush of water). The daylight time is measured in ‰altis, and there are nine of them. ·alts is not a constant, the length of it varies with the length of the day. They still say that in Latgale: do stay a spurt or two! (E.F.Cimare)
The flow of time is both the creator and the washer-away into nothingness. Blumbergs’drawings are made of faint and gentle touches of the line, of the Zephyr’s airy and shallow vibration towards an increasingly dynamic torsion field. “Everything that exists is born of a line – a faint or a highlighted one, thickened or vanishing – like a road is plaited of tiny lanes and paths which drag the drawer into a network of drawings like a spider drags a fly. A profile of a mountain draws itself. It’s out of reach and yet enticing. It draws the wavering, shilly-shally line almost straight to the very summit where you are left alone with yourself simply to take off into the sky after a moment of suspense. A bird’s-eye view. A choppy sea, a ploughed field, a river, forests, the texture of the earth and a blue lake like a hole reflecting the sky.
The next theme starts with a grey rectangle. It’s an open window or a door, or perhaps just an opening through which nothing can be seen. Just a sense of emptiness. Peace. You feel like jumping out of the window. And then the rectangle takes the shape of an icon. Around the sacred theme of the centre a life draws itself. Eyes, eyes, eyes. The rectangle changes its colour to the point where the almost-blue forces out everything else. Everything is blue now, everything is a lake now, everything can be jumped into and disappeared in now.
The lines of the third and final part repeat the theme of the first one – in a slightly different key now: it makes the viewer recall the already seen and known for distinct signs to grow out of the mess of the tangles: the Treebird, the Legman and the Flightman. Then – a leap. And everything has started.” (I.Blumbergs)
The base of IlmÇrs Blumbergs’ drawings is cardboard primed with silver and gold paste. The artist has used printer’s ink, lead pencil and pen. The drawings are to be viewed clockwise, in the opposite direction to the way they turn pages in Japan. The works are displayed along the perimeter of an oval room, the centre of which is occupied by a Honda Legend. “You need a centre for a space to start working, for a motion to commence.” (I.Blumbergs)
The soundtrack of the exhibition is the sound of silence, recorded in collaboration with Ivars Vāgners.