In this lecture about architecture, Slavoj Zizek (I cannot find the character(s) to accurately spell his name), the lisping, gesticulating, Slovenian thinker, in trying to understand the depth of the statement “Less is More” (have you heard?) arrives to the conclusion that good art is always missing something. His equation goes something like this:
stuff – something = art
(Maybe this isn’t correct – I was always terrible at math)
Let me try to venture into a different equation that just crossed my mind. This one is about decay being a good predictor of beauty:
girl + time = her mother
mother beautiful => future girl beautiful
What can we derive from this solid, and may I add, quite brilliant proposition I just invented?
As time seems to have only one direction
(please do not challenge me on this topic, all you theoretical physicist reading this blog. I am fundamentally a dumb person.)
Its effects are eventually visible and irretraceable. The process is always in course even if we don’t notice it. A beautiful older woman is essentially a beautiful woman. Time revealed something that young age could or couldn’t already predict.
This is was just a very long road to a simple idea:
Bernini’s most beautiful building is not Santo Andrea al Quirinale, nor is it the colonnade at S.Peter’s Basilica. I think that his most accomplished work is one he never completed at all and that has since turned into a ruin. He never saw this building in its peak state.
I discovered the Chiesa di S.Bonaventura in Monterano close to Rome with a friend, a colleague at the building restoration course in that year’s exchange student program.
We walked for miles and miles through these soft hills, into people’s farms, stepping on muddy ponds, opening splintery wooden gates, almost giving up, until we were face to face with the most incredible man-made artifact I had ever seen.
This ruinous church, the victim of bad construction, French invaders, Garibaldi’s savages and malaria had been shaped and carved into semi-natural structure, only a subtle pediment giving away it’s human origin.
You can never possess any other building the way you possess a ruin. It is only bone, no skin, barely any muscle.
Of course by now the wheels of time are ushering in a new age of reason and in the eternal divide between classical and romantic, Apollo and Dionysius, David and Ruskin, we are tending towards the first set.
It’s almost embarrassing to love ruins, but that will have to be in another post. This one has to remain incomplet