Love of beauty is taste. The creation of beauty is art.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
A person, a place, a moment or an object can be beautiful when, at first sight, one has not quite decided what to think or feel about her, him or it. After the very first encounter, that moment stays in our memory as a constant and unceasing beat.
So, what is “beauty” then? How can we recognize it?
When I first saw this piece made by the artist Estela Saez Vilanova, I was not able to apprehend or comprehend it. To be honest, I was quite overwhelmed. What material was it made of? Why was it so big? And the shape, what could it mean? How could one wear it? What message did it carry? What secrets did it contain?
I did not know what adjectives to use to describe the piece. What I know now is that the jewel stayed with and in me for a long time while going through many transformations. These changes have enabled multiple and very interesting dialogues between the object and myself. And to me this phenomenon of discovery, rediscovery and revisit is extremely beautiful.
A piece of art jewelry is beautiful when you have the need to know the context it has been created, when you have the need to read about the artist, when you perceive the piece in different ways every time you observe it or wear it. In other words, when your most inner self changes while wearing, observing or remembering the piece, that I would call beautiful.
Thus, I conceive beauty in a broad and dynamic way. I also understand beauty as the most intimate experience ever. To visually “like” something and connect it to a general convention, that is a fake sense of beauty; it’s more a socially accepted idea of what we are supposed to understand as “beauty”. Authentic beauty appears in form of a private, subjective and changing dialogue.
Going back to Estela’s work… When I learned the name she had given to that piece of art jewelry… Quilla (keel)…the object became even more beautiful. It was not a matter of wearability, technique or use of materials. The jewel became conceptual. At a certain point I felt that the artistic keel was a metaphor of a mother’s womb. There were some concepts coming into my mind: strength, direction, travel, support… And at the same time those concepts introduced some interesting dichotomies: safety and risk, protection and adventure, dependence and autonomy.
A keel is a fragment of a totality. A keel holds the structure. What is a keel then?
A keel can not be anything else than our heart. Because it is not our body bones the ones carrying our structure (bodies aren’t that important!). We are carried by our unique, moving, dynamic hearts that beat to every experience we live: bad ones and better ones. And that precisely connects with the definition I have come up to of BEAUTY through art jewelry.
I can say now that to me beauty is a unique, changing, imperfect yet vital heartbeat that keeps us alive.