I felt affronted at the notion that art should be devoid of meaning and merely present an aesthetically interesting form. I continued to lugg around my ideal of making meaning through art. But good advice has a way of morphing over time...
Aitken Roshi wrote, "Teaching in Zen Buddhism is a presentation. It is not merely a device intended to bring about a certain pedagogical result. .... Fundamentally the koan is a particular expression of Buddha nature and your koan work is simply a matter of making that expression clear to yourself and your teacher."
If I am trying to convince an audience through my work, then this is likely to be idea-based. The point about the koan work is that it is beyond mental construct. It requires cutting-off the mind road. And the presentation of the result is original and playful.
This is how I try to approach my work these days. Instead of communicating an idea, a narrative, I try to present an experience. The 'felt sense' of a moment in time.
Gently the mind settles into Mu
and Mu Mind opens.
This opening grows wider with each breath.
Mu at home in the boundless body
Going out to meet the raindrops
Returning to the aching fire.
How to present a fleeting glimpse of being at home in the boundless body?
How to be at home in the boundless body while presenting a fleeting glimpse?