In the process of considering our attraction to Nature or False Natures I have been investigating the concept of beauty. This morning while reading an excerpt of Adorno's Aesthetic Theory from Documents of Contemporary Art: Beauty I came to some reflections I thought I might share.
Beauty is the pleasure giving quality of an object, place or experience. It is entirely subjective yet culturally agreed upon. While the shallowness of our cultural defining lines that come to mind give me the feeling of disgust, without the concept of beauty our interaction with the world would convert goodness to greedy survivalist motives and barbaric sensibilities at best. Beauty is the appreciation and even intelligence humans respond with to our environments.
The concept of beauty in itself has been so far over romanticized that the "exodus" from the "realm of practical ends" that beauty has turned on itself. What was once pure and beautiful has been seized, marketed and sold at the high cost of the original.
Beauty itself has been falsely impersonated by greed. We are told what is beautiful, where to get it and what it costs. But that is not true beauty. The florist sells lies and the make up counter sells packaging.
Beauty happens when we exceed the practical. That doesn't point to impractical but something else. Beauty is not what doesn't make sense, but what goes beyond sense.
When applying these ideas to my work I have grief. At one time the perfect landscape was beauty. But the moment when we try to attain, recreate or impersonate it the original is stained.