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Embracing The Flawed

Embracing The Flawed

Words by Anne-Celine Jaeger

In Japan kintsukuroi is the name given to the traditional art of repairing with gold. Originating in the late 15th century, kintsukuroi is usually performed on ceramics, where lacquer is mixed with powdered gold to repair breakages. Damages are treated as part of the history of the object rather than something to disguise, the philosophy being that something is made more beautiful for having been broken.

SOMETHING IS MADE MORE BEAUTIFUL FOR HAVING BEEN BROKEN

SOMETHING IS MADE MORE BEAUTIFUL FOR HAVING BEEN BROKEN

SOMETHING IS MADE MORE BEAUTIFUL FOR HAVING BEEN BROKEN

I'd love a Jenny Holzer style LED to remind me, in this era of mass consumption and of throw-away goods that the concept of Japanese aesthetics, which values marks of wear by the use of an object is so utterly poetic, it should be subsumed into one’s ethos. Like a viewpoint vitamin. The artist Rachel Sussman has given us just that. She has applied this uplifting approach to the longevity and essential essence of an object to the cracked pavements at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA) in America. Using the art of kintsukuroi, she has paved the streets with gold. But more than that, she has reminded us that broken does not mean finished. Broken, in fact, can mean new life.