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Maria Gabriela Brito

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Why Beauty Matters

Posted: 10/28/2013 8:37 pm

There are some fundamental pillars that help support what I do: I help my clients develop contemporary art collections, I design spaces where such art is displayed, I use my creativity to mix furniture pieces and accents both old and new, bringing the tastes of my clients to their homes and in order to accomplish a harmonic state where there is beauty. I don't mean to say that everything inside a home should be beautiful -- sometimes, what is beautiful to me is not necessarily the same for someone else -- but aesthetics, as a value, play a very important role in what I do.

Aside from being a purely visual pleasure, the concept of why beauty matters has popped in my mind many times, even more so after I founded my company. Although it's true that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, we cannot deny that there are certain art pieces, objects, places, buildings and cities that we might consider beautiful over some others that we might think are the opposite, yet interesting, quirky, thought-provoking or fun.

Regardless of what critics, cynics, thinkers or anti-establishment proponents might say, people everywhere in the world crave beauty. Whether it is for cultural or spiritual reasons, we want beauty -- beauty that invites contemplation, beauty that provides enjoyment, beauty that makes people happy, beauty that feeds the soul. I still do not know anybody who would not like to live a life surrounded by beautiful things.

And then there's the question of beauty and art. Should all art be beautiful? I don't think so. I do believe that there's always room for reactionary movements, for artists who want to create for purposes of conveying a strong idea or criticizing a decision, opposing a regime or expressing rage, anger or sadness.

It's not that I don't get conceptual art. In fact, I do like some conceptualists very much. However, I subscribe to the idea that dry, sterile conceptual art relying solely on shock value is boring, and tends to lose its allure over time. I will definitely have a reaction to extreme, shocking or incomprehensible conceptual art, just not one which warrants a decision to migrate from a world of beauty to a world of ugliness. If critics want to perpetuate the sacrosanct halo around conceptual art by making it exclusive, sophisticated, hard to penetrate and only for the most discerning art connoisseurs, so be it, but I still want beauty around me and those who hire me.

Going deeper, it's not that people who pursue beauty want to deny reality or completely escape life, it's that all those who look for beauty want a break from suffering and negativity. It's not a willingness to be hypocritical or blindsided, because people can express reality without having to lose beauty altogether. I have objects and pieces of art that aren't necessarily beautiful, but they represent a memory, joke or an aspect of who I am. However, it's the sum of all parts that makes beauty, in my opinion.

Fortunately, there are plenty of fashion designers, artists, jewelers, furniture-makers, object designers, and those who, like me, have the pleasure to put all the pieces together, who are still looking for beauty, and who can happily produce it, too.

 

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