Por Camila Brugnoni.
A life lived as a work of art: what if we are all called to that? We give our first steps learning from a master and then we have the challenge to develop and present our masterpiece: our life.
We start with one letter, then a word… after that a verse and finally we end writing our own strophe such as poets do. Like painters, we add color to white canvas. We give shape to it as sculptors do with their clay. We combine sound and silence like musicians do and interpret, such as actors do, but with the difference that instead of doing what a scriptwriter wants, we don’t have a prefixed script, we write it every minute, hour, day, week, month and year.
We share new brush strokes with the members of our families, friends and people we meet in our way but, when do we feel that we are able to contemplate our whole artwork and, why not, admire it? We are used to do that with other people’s life but sometimes we miss doing introspection.
I guess it is not easy for everyone to do a bracket in our lives because we are all very busy —or pretend to be— with many things and we are scurrying along in a great hurry all the time, such as the White Rabbit of Lewis Carroll, but we deserve to make a pause in order to think and act in consequence.
We usually think about how others see us but maybe the right question should be another one: how do we see ourselves? The reason why we should look at ourselves is because our values, thoughts, dreams and wishes reflect who we are today and who we want to be tomorrow.
Who we are is reflected in the way we move, speak, in our manners and even our way to dress speaks about us. Then, why are we so afraid to show ourselves as we are, even if we also own our Dorian Gray’s picture? Will it be because of our natural tendency towards good and beauty? But, how can we reach it if we do not spread our own beauty?
Artists often put a lot of themselves in their works, so we can easily find them there. And that is why it is said that their work transcends their own person and that is the exciting thing about listening to a song, reading a book, looking at a painting: the relationship established with its author despite the time and that passes from generation to generation.
I think of the artists’s courage whose works are currently being exhibited in art museums around the globe and all what is about them in those walls.
Courage that others lack —like the Basil of Oscar Wilde who thought he could not exhibit Dorian’s portrait because he had put too much of himself into it— and prefer to leave that creativity hidden from others view and judgment instead of sharing it and enriching the spectators.
And what about the model´s painting? How much of them are in it, apart from their own figure? There are plenty of stories about that which make of them a legend: one of those is Klimt’s portrait “Adele Bloch-Bauer I” (also well known as “Woman in gold”), that a few years ago was taken to the big screen.
The portrait in some way has the powerful to express what the painter —a third person— thinks about the model´s youth or old age; beauty or ugliness; courage or fear; confidence or diffidence; whereas the self portrait shows what the painter thinks about himself, with his or her own eyes and perspective. And what is more: the conscience of him or her, moved by personal experience, emotions and feelings.
A self portrait is almost like taking a look at the face we see in the mirror: what do we expect when we do that? I hope we do not await an answer like the one that the White Snows´s stepmother expected from her mirror, full of vanity, narcissism and selfishness, but to learn to live even with what we do not necessarily feel proud of. Then, to love ourselves such as we are is probably the first step so that others can also love us just the way we are.
Can the brush strokes cheat us? Well, I believe they are the most authentic expression of what the painter —consciously or not— reveals of him: there is where his vulnerability is exposed… and who wants to show his or her Achilles heel?
Actually, none of us feel comfortable showing the fragility which coexist with our strength, but at the same time we are all aware of that. At least, we do not feel comfortable to let in evidence our weakness to everybody. I mean, surely with the ones who we truly love, the closest ones, we allow us to show ourselves genuinely.
So, the strokes that make up a work of art never lie. Maybe that’s the reason why some Dorian prefer to keep the composition under lock and key; the one that opens the door that encloses their souls.
Beauty is not only in the pages of books that a library collects, on the walls of art museums or in the sounds and silences that are reproduced in theaters, neither in the plays that are performed in its stages but in the most important work of art: our lives.