Beauty Matters

30 September 2017, MTG, Napier
Hawke’s Bay Arts Festival

David Trubridge is best known as an award-winning furniture designer whose work is exhibited around the world, but that is not all he is. He’s also a world traveller, a seeker, a man who finds himself alone in the wilderness on a regular basis.

‘Beauty Matters’ is part anthropology lesson, part performance piece, a mixture of speech, sound and of course lighting (Trubridge is most famous for beautifully designed light shades), but at its core it’s a travelogue of his adventures which have all led him to, what he believes, is an important truth – that beauty, specifically the beauty of nature, matters and the appreciation of which is integral to the success of mankind.

Trubridge feels that our ‘progress’ as a species has driven wedges between us and nature. Stretching back to early man’s invention of tools and language, then to farming, religion, and finally, industrialisation, we have systematically separated ourselves from nature, the most beautiful thing there is, and because of that we have forgotten how to cherish real beauty.

Moving through the elements, earth, air, water and fire, his descriptions of his time in the wild, experiencing these elements in their raw form, were moving and emotive, paired with photography and music to evoke all the right emotions to drive his point home.

Basically, we are destroying the planet with plastic cups and ugly buildings, globalisation has ruined our food, and industrialisation has stolen the beauty of making. His message is we need to embrace beauty, make beautiful things, surround ourselves with beautiful things, and this we will make us better, will stop our destruction of our planet and our bodies and restore the gentle balance of our place within nature.

Oh, that it were so simple.

If nothing else, this talk was thought provoking and the dips into our early history interesting; whether I agree with his hypothesis is another matter but for now I shall try and enjoy the beauty that is all around me.


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