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Essays

2005

  • Andries Loots

  • Sue Lipschitz

  • Claire Breukel

  • Mark Gillman

  • Glynis Coetzee

  • Marco Garbero

  • Charl Bezhuidenhout

  • Joshua Rossouw

  • Vincent van Zon

  • Earle Parker

  • Sue Lipschitz Sculpture


    2007

  • Gus Silber

  • Charl Bezhuidenhout

  • Craig Mark

  • Georgia Schoeman

  • Sue Lipschitz


    2008

  • Gavin Rain

  • Riaan Vosloo


    2009

  • Angelo Pauletti


    2013

  • Gus Silber

  • Andy Reid

  • Brigitte Williers

  • Vincent van Zon


  •  
    Gus Silber

    Ugly is the New Beauty

    poets are always asking, where do the little roses go, underneath the snow
    but no one ever thinks to say, where do the little insects stay
    this is because, as a general rule, roses are more handsome than insects
    beauty has the best of it in this world
    from “unjust” by Don Marquis, author of Archy & Mehitabel

    Beast: the thing with twitching feelers that scuttles away from the light when you step into the kitchen after last night’s party.
    Beauty: the flutter of gossamer wings that quickens your pulse as it alights on a petal in Springtime.

    Beast: the drooling mass of matted fur that skulks towards the carrion under moonlight.
    Beauty: the sleek, swift ripple of sinew and muscle that cuts through the savannah like wildfire.

    Crocodile vs dolphin. Ibis vs eagle. Stallion vs camel. Pot-bellied pig vs panda. Seriously now, which would you choose? From the moment of birth, we are hard-wired to favour grace and flair and symmetry, whether in the wild or in the nature of our own species.

    We look on beauty as a gift and a talent, and even as we concede that its depth is strictly epidermal, we cannot help but equate it with goodness and nobility of spirit. We hold no Ugly Contests to choose our models and role-models, and even in the grittier realm of politics, good looks will win you more X’s than the promises everyone knows you are probably not going to keep.

    Beauty, as Archy the cockroach sighs, has the best of it in this world, and anyone who disputes that notion should be wary of being trampled underfoot. But wait a second. What if we’ve been wrong all along? What if our wires somehow got crossed in the womb?

    What if beauty, true beauty, was a Rorschach blot of green with fried-egg eyes, or a totem-pole block of orange with offkilter arms, or a bald-headed blob of blue with a slot-machine lever for an appendage?

    What if, when we saw King Kong or Frankenstein’s Monster coming towards us, we didn’t widen our eyes and run away screaming, but we stood our ground, extended a hand, and invited them over for dinner?

    These questions will answer themselves when you cast your gaze upon the Five Musketeers of Richard Scott’s restless, feverish imagination. They are a roguishly irresistible crew, as startled to see us as we are to see them, and not even the semi-naked sirens posing in their shadow can distract us from their cartoonish-coloured charms.

    Yes, beauty has the best of it in this world, but step away from that world and into this one, and you will see that the Beast, in the end, will always happily ever after have Beauty.

    Gus Silber
    Journalist and author, is an art collector of modest means and exquisite taste. He lives in his own private contemporary art gallery, surrounded by Richard Scotts, in Johannesburg.


    Taken from Richards Book 2005

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