Treatise, Tantra, Mantra

image: Great Mirror, oil and pigment on paper by JWR

Some background contextual research regarding the explication of pictopoiesis:


note: to list of treatises given in above link add: Leonardo Da Vinci A Treatise on Painting

also: Vincent de Beauvais “Great Mirror”

also: Albertus Magnus


Sol le Witt Paragraphs/Sentences of Conceptual Art;

Paul Klee Notebooks

Middle English (in the senses ‘negotiate’ and ‘discuss a subject’): from Old French traitier, from Latin tractare ‘handle’, frequentative of trahere ‘draw, pull’. The current noun sense dates from the mid 17th century.

Some paintings caught my eye some time ago. I have since bought the book called Tantra Song, which features these paintings in the context of writings about them by poet, Franck Andre Jamme

Researching further I have found that Tantra means a system or methodology, a weaving, a treatise. All of these terms have resonance with pictopioesis which is a system of principles

A system of broad principles or rules from which specific methods or procedures may be derived to interpret or solve different problems within the scope of a particular discipline. Unlike an algorithm, a methodology is not a formula but a set of practices. 

link to source:

The above is a definition of methodology that I found randomly online. It is from a business directory, so, outside the art world but never the less, it corresponds with what pictopoiesis actually is. The problem I have to solve each time I paint is how to make the painting appear. What it looks like is an emergent property of the poiesis (making) which the painting undergoes.

The principle underlying pictopoiesis are derived from different sources. For example one system I often refer to is homeostasis, and therefore the homeostatic principle, that keeps the painting ‘alive’, though of course not as in the strictly biological definition of ‘alive’.

Human nature is best conceived of as a cluster of homeostatic properties, ie of traits that are dynamically changing and yet sufficiently stable over evolutionary time to be statistically clearly recognisable.

link to source of the above quote

noun: mantra; plural noun: mantras
  1. (originally in Hinduism and Buddhism) a word or sound repeated to aid concentration in meditation.
    “a mantra is given to a trainee meditator when his teacher initiates him”
    • a Vedic hymn.
      “her high, sweet voice began chanting the mantra of life”
    • a statement or slogan repeated frequently.
      “the environmental mantra that energy has for too long been too cheap”
late 18th century: Sanskrit, literally ‘a thought, thought behind speech or action’, from man- ‘think’, related to mind.
Note: the making of the pictopoiesis leoporellos is an act of meditation in itself – just the folding of the paper is enough to focus my mind on the act of making, poiesis, for the sake of it – a pictopoietic principle in practice.










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