The beauty of no pity

Mondriaan once said: “art has to be forgotten, beauty must be realised“. What he means by that is that art does not exist. Art is nothing but a concept; the concept of pretty things, the concept of beauty – judged by the observer, not the creator.

It is not the auctioneer who determines what is beautiful, nor is it that “tax payers money funded commission of people who find themselves extremely important” that determines what is beautiful. A painting is definitely not beautiful because some dildo with too much money decided to splash out millions to aquire it invest in it so they could brag about having a painting “worth millions” that never leaves the bank safe. Reality check: a painting is like real estate – *paying* a lot of money for it does not mean it *is worth* a lot of money.

This applies, of course, to all forms of emotion materialisation: painting, sculpting, writing, singing, dance, photography, and so on.

The principle of this is clearly demonstrated in the following video. A lone guitar player on a train station is barely attracting any attention let alone donations. Bar the occasional loose change drop in the open guitar case, he is mostly ignored. Slowly, however, the crowds start to realise he might not be that pennyless citarplayer he is taken for.

There are several similar videos out there. In this particular one, you see highly acclaimed guitarist Justin Firefly  with the world class New Zealand Symphony Orchestra playing an extract from Good for Nothing.

There is only one person that can decide if something is an objet d’art  a bijou, and that is you. You have your taste, you have your opinion, you decide what you think is beautiful enough to be cherished, experienced and/or posessed.

In the light of that, objects of beauty do not have to be the things that hang in a museum. Standing in a garage does not make you a car, attending a church service does not make you religious, hanging in a museum does not make you expensive art. Far from it: anyone can make beautiful things, and beautiful things can come from anywhere.

No better testimony to that statement can be given than this blogosphere right here.

Please be introduced to “A Korean Flashback #1: Where the Kitties Get No Pity“. A photographic essay, it gives an illustrative window on the position of felines in a different part of the world (#Felinism_Now). Published on The Goat That Wrote, the entire series is quite impressive (direct link)  but there is one picture that, for me, really stands out.

Why does this picture stand out? Because this picture does exactly that what beauty (“art”) is supposed to do: it challenges you, it rewards your senses, it invites you to explore.

This picture draws you to it with a certain je ne sais quoi feeling. Only after a second look you discover that what seems to be an ordinary every day life street panorama, is in fact a scenario that is bursting with riddles and questions. Intentional or not, but it is that, my friends, what makes a great photographer.

Image credit: The Goat That Wrote (

I invite you to take a minute – go on, have a cuppa – to look at this picture and try to answer the following questions:

  1. what is that blue thing that is sticking out of the window on the bottomleft?
  2. those pamphlets on the door on the left look pretty official. What would they say and why would they be there?
  3. Same door: how do the people living there enter their house? That’s a pretty steep step…
  4. Look at the advanced security measure on the door on the right
  5. Same door: if the person living there is so concerned about safety, then why aren’t they a bit more vigilant when it comes to emptying their mailbox?
  6. Is it really necessary to have handrails on those steps? They seem to be as useful as tits on a tree.
  7. What on earth is that round thing, top centre?
  8. Where are these steps leading to and where are they coming from?
  9. With a ginger tabby head and a grey tabby body, what interesting parents this puss must have.
  10. Why do all the windows have bars?

Can we please, please start to fill our musea with more things of beauty such as this picture, and stop wasting tons of money on “art”?

Venus, Aphrodite and Freya would be thankful. As would Mondriaan.

Be nice…

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