The Poetry of Objects
Can a still life invite us to see the extraordinary beauty of ordinary objects? Inspired by a chapter in Alain de Botton's “How Proust Can Change Your Life” we started to think about the objects around us and how we could further appreciate their inherent beauty and interest. The simplicity of everyday objects, depicted in a great photograph or painting can ease the pain of constantly comparing our lives to those once portrayed in high art, and now in glossy, perfectly staged Instagram pictures. Proust understood that the essence and value of life was the sum of its everyday parts.
As Alain de Botton reminds us, Proust suggested that his contemporaries could be cured of their own version of FOMO by engaging with art that celebrates the beauty of the ordinary, like that of Jean-Baptist Chardin. In the same vein, we can cure our own, fueled by our obsessive scrolling through images of exotic locations and unattainable possessions, by turning our eye towards our own surroundings, by curating our space, adding a touch of refinement with objects that elevate our interior space and life. We can take any corner, any snapshot and arrange a moment of beauty. We can arrange our own painting, frame our own things in an artful and meditative way, and look at our world with its objects through a purposeful lens.
Seeing the comfort and poetry of the things we own and use in our routine, giving them a bit of immortalization, can help us celebrate the special normality of our human existence. Seeing beauty in a drinking glass, a hairbrush, a scarf, a pair of shoes. Connecting with the tactile sensuality of silk, resting our eyes on the symmetry of a perfume bottle, the curves of a bag, the precision of a stitch or a seam. A plush rug under your feet can softly soothe you after a long day if you let it. An active object like a candle or incense can not only be designed pleasantly for the eye, but the act of lighting can trigger a slow, deliberate, artful thought process and transform both your physical space and your mind space. Seeing evidence that beauty is in every corner of our home. Zooming in on the artistry and imagination that brought these objects to life and then in our closets, on our shelves. If we can do this, then we can breath, rest and relax knowing we don’t need an expensive trip or a dramatic landscape to experience the sublime. It is right here, at our fingertips. Reach out and touch, appreciate, and arrange. Find the mindful objects edit below.