Monday, May 28, 2012

`The Naive Unity of the Beautiful and the Useful'

“I limited myself to onions, garlic, bread, and especially lump sugar. It’s a wonderful thing, lump sugar. I still have a weakness for it. Even in cafes I’ll catch myself, completely unconsciously, slipping some lump sugar into my pocket. I’m not a cheap person; it’s just that since Lubyanka I’ve loved lump sugar. Those lumps of sugar are beautiful. You have to admit they have a certain beauty. And you can see by their very form that they contain sweetness. They’re well constructed; there’s nothing superfluous about them. Those lumps of sugar were a delicacy for me, and here of course the beautiful and the useful were united – not as they are in constructivism, which I detest, but as they are in human life. A primeval unity. The naïve unity of the beautiful and the useful, the enormously useful. I was sparing with those lumps of sugar; I built up a reserve in case things became worse.”

[from Aleksander Wat’s My Century, 1988, translated by Richard Lourie]

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