Without Beauty Life is a Bore
Four people, with very different backgrounds, met and discussed on the theme of beauty. Among the panelists: “A designer who invented the most beautiful curved glass,” says journalist Alessandro Banfi, introducing Vittorio Livi, designer. The others are: Emmanuele Silanos “a priest with experiences in the Far East,” Mariella Carlotti, “a teacher who can teach art in a lively way,” and Duccio Campagnoli, President of Bologna Fiere. The title of this session, “Without Beauty Life is a Bore,” organized in collaboration with Federlegno Arredo, was held in Sala Tiglio A6. Due to the unexpected huge turnout, the event was also broadcasted live on the maxi-screens placed in the Piscine Ovest and Hall Sud.
“The universe was created with the DNA of beauty,” begins Vittorio Livi, the President of Fiam Italia. “Beauty is a fundamental value for human survival.” Livi also speaks about prince Federico da Montefeltro, who “ruled Urbino through beauty and not through boredom, unlike his step-brother.” He then goes on describing the beauty and the other characteristics of glass, “the most important material for our future”. Making reference to his professional experience, which allowed him to meet the most renowned architects and designers, he states that his job: “basically never existed.”
Emmanuele Silanos, from the Fraternity of St. Charles Borromeo, presents the episode of Jesus’ transfiguration on Mount Tabor and the “fulfilled synthesis of what beauty is.” To this extent, Fr. Silanos values St. Peter’s comment: “It’s beautiful for us to stay here! The contemporary drama is that beauty is no longer recognized, because the link between beauty and truth has been broken. Christianity is an event of beauty. Thanks to the incarnation, beauty can now be met and known: from this the urgency to be missionaries springs forth.” As stated by then Cardinal Ratzinger years ago, during his participation at a previous edition of the Rimini Meeting, “We need to be pierced by the arrow of Beauty.” The moderator then adds, “if one couldn’t meet Beauty – which is Christ – it wouldn’t be worth being Christians.”
“I’m here, thanks to the encounter with the friends from FederLegno” Duccio Campagnoli began, making a reference to the new Italian initiative in the wood sector and partnership between Milan and Bologna to bring the ‘Salone del Mobile’ initiative to China in 2016. Campagnoli then recalls his trip to Barcelona and his visit to the Sagrada Familia: “I was in awe in front of its beauty: it had been an amazing experience.” Campagnoli adds another reason for his presence with us: “I was born in Recanati, the city which gave birth to an exceptional person,” i.e., Giacomo Leopardi, who also wrote that beauty “almost makes our soul a giant, in all its parts.”
Mariella Carlotti, a teacher and Art Historian, began her presentation in a provocative way, almost speaking in favor of ‘ennui’, which for Leopardi was “the most sublime of all human sentiments.” Carlotti pointed out that “Ennui is not the opposite of beauty, but rather, a longing for beauty.” Using some slides, she stressed that “beauty is not a luxury, but rather, an ontological need of ours. We need beauty more than we need bread.” Old parish churches and cathedrals have been emblems of beauty for centuries, feeding the urge that beauty could be extended around the city. She then recalled that “Gaudì was aware of the fact that he would not see his masterpiece, the Sagrada Familia, completed, so he decided to just complete one detail of it: the façade, ‘so that its beauty could make it impossible to its construction.’ In the same way, in order to carry the difficulties of life, one needs to have a point of beauty in one’s life. This is what the Meeting represents throughout the rest of the year. It is God’s method: to create some points of beauty in history, which sustains the hardships of life.” Our heart becomes easily bored if it doesn’t have beauty to look at. Carlotti then concluded that “this beauty can be met in a current human companionship that allows us to live again the beauty from centuries ago. A mysterious beauty can be perceived around the Meeting pavilions. Without beauty, today, the beauty of the past would be an unbearable longing.”