dot 12: flaws are the key

I like flaws,

I think

they make



– Sarah Dessen –

I once bought an old pianola from a church in the Netherlands, later transporting it with me back to South Africa. This pianola has been at the centre of many a dispute between my father and myself, simply because he struggles to understand how I can find dissonance bearable. What he does not fully grasp, however, is that dissonance is much more interesting than perfect pitch. Sonified tension is created because of the flaw in pitch, and this excites me. However, the question I often find myself asking is why I struggle to accept flaws within my own self? If acceptance is so fluid when considering off-key pianolas, why am I not accepting nor excited by my own flawed and dissonant creative-self?

If, for any reason, I may have considered that acceptance would occur over time and with the wisdom of age, I have just been proven wrong. After listening to Tavi Gevinson on a TEDxTeen talk, this 15-year-old has pointed towards the key of self-acceptance. In a teen just trying to figure it out Gevinson explores the absence and presence of strong female characters in Popular Culture. Although most women are portrayed in a flat, two-dimensional way in the media, Gevinson says that the truer portrayal of women would be that they are complex, multifaceted and contradictory by nature. Their flaws are the key to their strengths:

What makes a strong female character, is a character who has weaknesses, who has flaws.

You don’t have to be only female to have these flaws. Traits such as complexity, multifacetedness and contradictory behaviour would describe many an artist. In the arts, I consider my sole mentor to be Ari de Groot. This Dutch artist, who was my drawing lecturer at what is now known as the Willem de Kooning Akademie in Rotterdam, has worked and interwoven his flaws into his art[making]. For me, Ari is the shining example of how to make the fragility of flaws create artistic strength. Ari’s work is centered around the idea of a roof or dome. Here there is no real difference in what is covered. Both dungeon and universe is dome-covered. Regardless of whether we have cognisance of it or not, the dome is ever-present in life. The dome celebrates a not-knowing.

I interpret this as the acceptance of not-knowing, the acceptance of fragility, the acceptance of flaws. It is ever-present anyhow.


Ari de Groot   Verre Geluiden (1994)   pastel, pencil, acrylic / paper.  41 x 51 cm. Collection: Veldkamp, Berkel & Rodenrijs


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