Thursday, 19 February 2015

The Beauty of the Incomplete

Have you ever seen sketches, half-finished skeletons of works, and found them to be full of intriguing possibilities? Half-heard, half-seen, half-remembered suggestions of what the work could be, the details that may have been, the structures that it could have given birth to. These sketches sometimes are a greater piece of work, more personal, more intimate, and more bursting with life, than the finished article. 

In this sense, some of the greatest works of art we may ever encounter in our lifetimes may be half heard and half remembered, and may never have existed at all. Have you ever experienced the small and incommunicable horror of digging out a track from your youth, old to find it was nowhere near as intense, as vivid, as to-the-point as you remember? In this case you're either victim of your own rose-tinted view on your youth, or victim of memory decay, coupled with a bit of old memory interference (something us humans are quite prone to doing).

I once put this to a friend as "the paths leading towards a work of art, and away from a work of art, are potentially far more beautiful than the work itself", but in this instance, it's the work's primal form that actually is instantly more appealing as it invites you to complete it, to engage with it, for you to bring life to it. "Finished" works, with their colours filled-in, their details finely sculpted, their mixes deeper than Mariana Trench, just sit there, expecting admiration, expecting someone to cast their eye over it, declare it beautiful in its craftsmanship and for you to move on. Unfinished works, by contrast, want you, need you to gaze on its incompleteness, its hidden complexities, the complexities that could be

For me, as far as aesthetic experience, these unfinished pieces, these sketches, these beautiful, naked ideas, are far more satisfying to behold, and far more beautiful. 

Bjork, Black Boned Angel & Nadja, Wife

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