A wood block print i found online that illustrates some examples of japanese aesthetics as well as architecture
Example of Wabi-Sabi
On March 11th, 2021 , MLWGS hosted a lecture by Amanda Dalla VIlla Adams over Zoom discussing Japanese Aesthetics. I think I had gone to a similar lecture in 2018 or 2017. I can't really remember, but I was excited to watch it because from what I remembered of Japanese Aesthetics from previous knowledge and discussions of it over the years, it is a pretty interesting topic that I could stand to learn a lot more about.
I was especially interested in the concepts surrounding western beauty, Immanuel Kant's Critique of Judgement, where he attempts to quantity beauty in an objective sense, and how it contrasts from Japanese Aesthetics. Kant basically came to the conclusion that in order to find something beautiful, we can't have any use for it. If we are using it for something, it clouds are true view of it, warping its beauty by its use. I think it is a bit more complex than that as you can really have a use for everything. If you own something, then you have a use for it, regardless of how irrelevant or inconsequential. For example, owning artwork; its use is to look pretty. By that logic it cannot be beautiful, nothing really can be beautiful as everything has a use. Furthermore, Kant's claims would qualify no person as beautiful, which I disagree with. Japanese Aesthetics, in turn, was founded on the ideas circulating the Han Court(794-1185), or what is considered the height of all Japanese Aesthetics. The Tale of Genji gives us the three pillars of Japanese aesthetics: wabi, transient and stark beauty, sabi, the beauty of natural patina and aging, and yūgen, profound grace and subtlety. These pillars describe beauty in a much more natural and simplistic way, releasing it from the human consumption, comprising Western Aesthetics as defined by Kant.
I find that I am plagued by the constructs of the Western idea of beauty because I want to make beautiful things. We once had a discussion about this last year and the fine line between beauty and ugliness, or really the lack of the line in some instances, and this lecture really brought that into my mind to ponder about, and perhaps take some risks and maybe incorporate more ugliness into my work. I also was reminded about the fixing bowls with gold and I really want to do something with that in the future because I love that concept.