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Worms, 2018 (pantyhose, yarn, stuffing) is challenging the subject of aesthetics. General aesthetics has neglected to study the fearful and frightening, preferring to concentrate on beauty and positive emotions like the attractive and the sublime. I am fascinated with the ugly, the grotesque: a kind of “negative” aesthetic. There is a gradient, with the ugly at one end and the beautiful at the other. We aspire in one direction while desperately trying to avoid the sickening gravitational pull of the other. Ugliness can not only be thought as the negation of beauty but as having a real and independent dimension. Rather than a lack of beauty, it is an excess, which comes to threaten the subject. It is dependent on and relative to beauty; it is not the mere absence of beauty, but rather a positive negation of it, one that turns against beauty in some way. Art cannot avoid making ugliness. It is not ugly alone that causes our pleasure in a work of art but beauty overcoming its treachery. Can beauty exist without the ugly?
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