Sadness and beauty.
Much of life can be summed up by two words of concepts – Sadness and beauty. I often contemplate life in this simplistic, dualistic way. Us humans like to simplify and label things, although the more you think about the concepts of sadness and beauty existing in harmony, the more you realise it’s far from simple.
I love the idea of them being completely entwined. It’s as though they dance together and weave a tale, both reliant on the other to embody its own definition in the richest sense.
Without sadness is there any point to beauty? Does beauty not seem more divine in the presence of sadness? It is as though the two are the tangible real life versions of the light and dark polarities – concepts that are hardwired into our psyche.
Of course, sadness encompasses all that is tragic, grotesque and painful in our world and beauty is the light leaking through the cracks. It gives us a sense of hope that maybe the suffering is worth it, the pain bearable. Without beauty, would the sadness be unbearable?
Through centuries of dogma we have been convinced that darkness needs to be avoided, we must strive to find enlightenment, be good, stay happy, enjoy life’s happy moments. In doing so, we are not however completely connected to the magic of life. The richness, the grit, the dirty business, call it what you will, but this is essential to our existence. Sadness and beauty aren’t here to dance the Waltz, the Tango is their preference. Beauty and sadness exist is a constant state of raw flux. There is never too much of either because even in our darkest moments, there is an opportunity to seek beauty.
In my art, I strive to not only celebrate beauty, but also sadness. It may never appear is a literal sense, but by referencing past eras I focus on nostalgia and memory. Of times gone by, the fragility of the past and our memories, whether collective or personal – there is sadness in the ethereal and temporary. Sadness and impermanence go hand in hand, but within impermanence, there is undoubtedly much beauty. In fact, the impermanence makes the beauty even more so.
A flower’s beauty is all the more celebrated or appreciated because of the impermanence. The temporary nature of this which we love causes sadness and this sadness in turn, when juxtaposed with the beauty of the beauty speaks to us on a deeper level.