After an unsuccessful siege of 9 years the The Trojan War was over. Odysseus had successfully deceived the enemy into bringing the colossal wooden horse into the city of Troy. Captivated by the size of this magnanimous horse the Trojans pulled the horse into their city walls as a victory trophy. That night Troy was sacked and the Trojans were massacred. The object of their intrigue turned out to be their inevitable destiny in violence and captivation. It was in the design of this massive scaled horse that the Trojan War was won. It is a phenomenal example of how opposites (big and small, muscle and mind, life and lifeless) come into play to achieve the necessary outcome. It is also an interesting lesson in the duality of our existence.Interestingly enough, it was love and beauty that launched this decade of hate and war. As Christopher Marlowe, the Elizabethan poet, says of Helen of Troy:
"Was this the face that launch'd a thousand ships
And burnt the topless towers of Ilium?
Sweet Helen, make me immortal with a kiss."
It is in the "opposites" that creativity sprouts, that an idea gains momentum and manifests itself in form. My favourite poet and mystic, Jalauddin Rumi writes:
"God created suffering and heartache so that
joyful-heartedness might appear through its opposite.
Hence hidden things become manifest through
opposites. But since God has no opposite, He remains hidden.
For the sight falls first upon light, then upon
color: Opposites are made manifest through opposites, like
white and black. .........
Know that form springs from meaning as the
lion from the thicket, or as voice and speech from thought.
Form was born from speech and then died. It
took its wave back to the sea.
Form comes out from Formlessness: Then it
returns, for "unto Him we are returning"
Make "opposites" an integral part of your art and design. It commands captivity and creates unity. It is what draws the viewer's eye into the canvas and helps movement in the space. Just the right amount of "opposites" engages the viewers' participation in comparing various elements of the work. The viewer sees the light and shadows of a painting, wide lines and thin lines, light-weight forms and heavy forms, filled spaces and unfilled spaces and so forth. Use size, value, color, type, texture, shape, alignment, direction, movement to take charge of the "opposites".
Mastering "opposites" is a lifelong pilgrimage that involves interpretation of functions, both tangible and intangible, physical, and psychological.
"For is and is-not come together;
Hard and easy are complementary;
Long and short are relative;
High and low are comparative;
Pitch and sound make harmony;
Before and after are a sequence."....... Lao Tzu, translated by Raymond R. Blakney.