If beauty is for each of us a part of subjectivity, it is also – above all – based on criteria that have been transmitted to us since childhood, on a culture and traditions. Far from lessening our sensitivity, this arbitrary judgment sharpens our gaze.
It could be like those Sunday lunches where we spend hours talking about the beauty of actresses, those we love and all the others. And the exchanges are endless, based on the subjectivity of each and the pleasure of having nothing to demonstrate more than the affirmation of one’s own tastes.
There is a voluptuousness in this self-imperialism which, on beauty, ugliness, nature, the diversity of beings and things, is content to pose its obvious facts in life, persuaded that it is admitted that these matters infinitely The sensitive are fundamentally unspeakable and that to demand proof from him, for example, of the validity of his aesthetic choices would be asking too much.
“You have to go to the heart of the unknown that moves you to try to decipher it”
Yet it always seemed to me, when I contemplated, admired or turned away, that in my appreciation there entered a part which depended only on me, on my criteria, on my moods, on appetites so deep that they emanated from childhood, but also another more objective one that I could try to define based on a certain number of parameters likely to explain why this one is beautiful and attractive, and not that one. A disturbing and delicious mixture of arbitrariness and rigor. Contrary to what is often believed, striving to explain the mystery of grace, the emergence of a perfect appearance, does not destroy the poetry of bodies and faces, but adds to it an elucidation which does a lot of good. . You have to go to the heart of the unknown that moves you to try to decipher it. As if to justify his own inclinations that would lack something if left to their own devices.
Also read, the interview of Rudy Ricciotti by Yannis Ezziadi: Rudy Ricciotti: “Beauty has become suspect”
For the beauty of the landscapes, the mountains, the countryside, this infinitely diverse and contrasting configuration which makes our country a map of tenderness, delight, majesty or prettiness by offering us, with generosity, enough to satisfy our sense of evidence – how beautiful! –, we could consider that the splendid nudity of what submits to our gaze is the cause of our wonder. We can only join Alain Finkielkraut who, for example, denounces the proliferation of wind farms “because they transform the countryside into industrial landscapes”.
There is, in the consensus that exists on what is given to us by nature, the trees, the forests, the rivers, the splendid and tranquil arrangement of places that touch us precisely because they deliver themselves as they are to us, a sort of reassuring agreement: what is beautiful is what has not been degraded by the genius of man or the profitability of the century, what remains in the purity of the origins and of a development in which we were content to accompany, without distorting it or making it ugly, an aesthetic that we would not have been able to invent with such perfection. Beauty is what remains preserved. One could go so far as to maintain, in this domain, that it imposes itself as ugliness is seen.
Beauty with a capital B
For the appreciation of the beauty of beings, we can attach ourselves to a classic conception which, with regard to precise elements, constitutes aesthetics like a science which wants to be exact. The configuration of the face, the proportions of the body, the size and the slenderness, the general appearance of an ensemble offering to the gaze the certainty of perfect harmony represent criteria which immediately at least respond to the concern for an objective definition of the beauty.
But is this approach the right one or the only one? I do not believe that. It seems to me – I was able to verify that this feeling was not personal to me – that aesthetics does not only consist in taking note of an appearance and judging it successful or not, but that it is also, can -to be above all, inseparable from a form of virtual desire.
The beauty that I described above, corresponding to the canons of tradition, is not enough for those who look at it to be necessarily delighted. There are beauties that offer the coldness of statues, an absence of animation of the face, a grace so far removed from the common that it seems condescending, ” Besides “ as Pierre Bachelet sang it.
To read also, the interview of Alain Finkielkraut by Jonathan Siksou: “There is no longer any obstacle to the progress of ugliness”
This perception leads paradoxically to the observation that perfection (assuming it to be embodied, for example that of a Grace Kelly or a Gene Tierney) is incomplete, precisely because it lacks the flaws of humanity, the flaws that would make it more familiar and singularities, as contrary as they are in relation to the rules, which deeply refer to what we, we desire, to what we, we need to make ours. Perfect bodies are not what we believe, neither are superb faces: both must become accessible to us because our sensitivity has chosen them. What moves us is the disturbing conjunction of an appearance with our depths. There are breaks with established beauty which for us are graces. A Monica Vitti touches us by what distinguishes her and draws her towards us through a singular seduction. Aesthetics also has its differences.
It also happens that certain mythical actresses have been aware of this gap between what they are and their unsurpassable aura. Marilyn Monroe, for example, speaking to Simone Signoret, declares to her: “Look, they all think I have nice long legs, I have knock knees and I’m short legged. » And in fact it is, but it doesn’t matter since the universe decided the opposite, looked at it differently.
This analysis also makes it possible to relativize the notion of ugliness. Absurdly, we are sometimes surprised by a couple where an indisputable beauty rubs shoulders with a lackluster appearance, whereas the latter could be perceived in a way that led the former to go beyond its superficiality in favor of invisible nuggets, known from her alone.
However, once we have tried to go deeper into the thousand variations of the magnificent beauty of the landscapes or the aesthetic and disturbing brilliance of certain faces, without sycophancy for talker, I consider it appropriate to congratulate the team of this infinitely free and caustic publication for the courageous choice of this theme, in the climate that we experience on a daily basis. How not to join the conviction of this atypical architect that is Rudy Ricciotti when he affirms that“today beauty is considered suspect”or that politically correct ugliness is the consequence of “laxity, cowardice and lack of requirement. We imagine that it is a way of being popular, close to everyday life, which is cowardly, dishonorable and stupid. »
All is said.
Save the right to honor beauty and write about it.
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