contemplation and creativity


The role of the artist is to transmit to humanity the deepest experience of reality.
Art is remembrance. It is love.
It is like a sword that distinguishes between appearances and reality,
or a cradle that reminds us of home.


I would say that the purpose of an artist is to reveal [the] presence of consciousness through the medium of the senses.  So in this respect the artist has a special responsibility.  A mystic’s job is to explore the nature of reality, but more is required of the artist.  He or she has to simultaneously make manifest the ongoing results of this enquiry in form.  So the role of the artist is to provide a way that this presence can be approached and experienced through the senses.  The scientist’s job is to provide a true model of reality, a true model of the universe.  The artist’s job is to provide a means whereby this reality can be experienced in a direct way.


Rupert Spira: Deep Bowl

Deep Bowl
Titanium White with Embossed Text


So the artist has a twofold responsibility?

The first we could call contemplation.  It is the process of exploring the world of form as it is actually experienced in order to discover its true nature, and this he shares with the mystic.  The second involves becoming familiar with one’s medium in order to express and therefore share the results of this enquiry with others.  The artist has to re-present our world of conceptualised objects, separated and extended in space and time, as it really is.  He has to reinterpret our model of reality in line with direct experience and to convey this ‘taste of eternity’.  We could call this twofold activity contemplation and creativity.  Contemplation is the passive aspect; creativity is the dynamic aspect.  These are two inseparable aspects of consciousness.


Rupert Spira: Cylinder Vessels

Cylinder Vessels
Embossed Poem under Titanium White


Do you try to express this in your work?

Consciousness itself can never be defined or approached directly, let alone expressed, and yet at the same time it is very obliging.  The more attention we give it, the more attention it gives us, so to speak.  So we cannot try to express it; yet if we ignore it, it doesn’t appear.  We have to court it.  In fact, the more interested we become in it, in that which is ‘always the same’, the more it infiltrates our perceptions, thoughts and feelings, and therefore the more it informs our work.  But there is no effort to try and express this, or anything else for that matter. That would be very pretentious.

– Rupert Spira in an interview with Daphne Astor 2002


Rupert Spira: Open Bowl

Open Bowl
Embossed Poem under Titanium White Glaze


On nondual perception:

I reasoned that if these two elements – the presence of an object in itself and the consciousness to which it appears – are essential ingredients of every object, there must be a relationship between them. So I began to explore the relationship between consciousness and its object, between that which sees, hears, feels and thinks and that which is seen, heard, felt and thought about. I reasoned that if there is a distinction between the two, there must be some perceivable interface or border between them. I looked for such a border between the subject and its object, but could not find one.

– Rupert Spira



Images © copyright Rupert Spira

Related page on this site:

nature’s eternity
an essay on Paul Cezanne and nondual understanding,
by Rupert Spira (from the book below)


Rupert Spira: The Transparency of Things

The Transparency of Things
a collection of contemplative essays and conversations
– Rupert Spira


There are many video and audio downloads about nonduality, art and “The Way of Beauty” available at Rupert’s website.
Also see his page on youtube.


More books by Rupert Spira



artisans’ gallery