Ph. Priscilla Benedetti

A 3D cardboard print of the Venus di Milo (created by NextMaterlias LTD from Milan) stands as a totem awaiting for the visitor. The statue is covered with medical bands like it was wounded, serving as projection screen. The intent is to show the idea behind the famous statement by Prince Myskin in Dostoevsky’s The idiot: « Beauty will save the world ».


On the body of the goddess, turned into a projection screen, and on the back wall, a video montage shows the evil of the world: terrorism, pollution, war, overpopulation, murders, violence, but also catastrophes and natural events, those primordial events that have opened up humanity to the overwhelming experience of the sacred (hierós), which initially manifested itself as a cratophany (krátos = power): the showing of natural forces.

The statue is in silence, like an infirm deity, appearing and disappearing, while the video plays. Her silent epiphany, as a symbol of beauty, is what can redeem (save) the world. In the presence of the goddess, the video changes theme and shows the good of the world: acts and situations of extraordinary grace, a gesture of help or goodness, a sublime song, the pathos of harmony in human and natural forms that unleashes in mankind those feelings of compassion, enjoyment and power, which typically characterize the experience of beauty.

Beauty is the principle of order and civilization. It is an intuition of harmony, creative drive, superior adaptation, effort of the imagination, sublimated horror.

It is an extra-ordinary “tool” capable of emancipating mankind from the so-called “evil”: its own destructive and self-destructive tendencies.

In this sense, a beautiful gesture is intrinsically ethical, certainly meaningless in the face of the absurd, thus sincere selfless, hence superhuman, extra-terrestrial. Just like the “turn the other cheek” can be understood as an artistic performance, in which the possibility of holding back a destructive and violent impulse, in favour of a higher end; so beauty can be seen as a regulative ideal capable to drag humanity, as a whole, towards higher and inscrutable ends.

All these images are gathered from that digital collective unconscious that is YouTube.

From this point of view, the destination of the human species towards beauty, also inted as marvel of discovery (of its own infinite potential) is the only possible motif that can justify human efforts to survive and prosper. A superhuman response to an infinitelly philosophical question: Why existing at all? Perhaps simply to contemplate.

Included in the exhibition “Where is my sacred?” @ Fondazione Cerere  (Rome) 5th -21th december 2018