At the end of October I went to Utrecht, the Netherlands for an all too brief visit revolving around a business gig. I had one day to wander around the city with a friend before all hell broke loose.
Utrecht is graced by a great many wonderful characteristics. The public parks are quite vast, cared for and used. Something else that entranced me was all the public art. We found random murals on the sides of buildings, and sculptures occupied corners and city squares.
I’m not sure how the majority of people in Utrecht feel about public art, but I LOVE it. Even the Children’s Hospital has a fun and creative twist to its functional design. I know everyone might not agree, but I think we humans need art and beauty in our world. A sort of celebration of the divine and a rejection of the purely practical life. I think we become less to live in a strict utilitarian world. We lose a bit of soul and depth, become slightly more automated. Beauty makes us sing, taps into something within. It reminds me of the classical Keats poem, and the debate it sparks.
Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.
from Ode to a Grecian Urn
The gist of the poem is that things don’t have to exist solely to serve a purpose. An urn as a vessel of beauty is just as valuable as that which stores grain.
Granted, art is an intensely personal experience. What speaks beauty to one person does not say the same to all. Take this rabbit for example. It sits in the middle of a busy intersection. I asked Theo what it meant (as it seems rather esoteric). He laughed and said he didn’t know, that most people didn’t. Is the rabbit pontificating fertility, playing innocent, snickering at passersby-privy to some joke. Is he mocking the thinker, showing that the pose makes the creature, and not the other way around? Is he sitting on a bit of moon rock and making Mochi?
After the initial strangeness of the sculpture wore off, I decided I quite like Bunny, and his juxtaposition in the environment. A break in the pattern of commercial normalcy. A scrumptious intrusion of the surreal.