An ode to the village idiot

YOU KNOW: I have been thinking a lot about ugliness lately … my most recent thoughts on the theme is today published by ZETEO

Susiraja Rakennettua-tunnetta12014

Iiu Susiraja, copyright Iiu Susiraja


Money has the property of being able to buy anything, to take possession of all objects . . . What I am and what I can do is therefore not determined by my individuality in the slightest. I am ugly, but I can buy myself the most beautiful of women. Hence I am not ugly, since the effect of ugliness, its discouraging power, is annulled by money.

– Marx

– See more at: zeteo

6 Comments Add yours

  1. Harold Rhenisch says:

    Beautiful and inspiring work, thank you.

    I wonder about this point, though:

    “More often than not, we, the audience, respond with indifference to contemporary art. This is not the case with Susiraja. Susiraja’s art does something to us. I believe it threatens us. It makes us start speculating about our own vulnerability, what will happen to me if I don’t manage to keep my own desires in check, my own hunger under control, my own body in shape? Suddenly we understand what Burke once tried to tell us: Sublime art resembles actual pain.” – See more at:

    More than fear I see challenge and strength that doesn’t lose its vulnerability. That’s a very strong gaze, directed not at re-forming women, as photographs so often are, but at viewers. That’s quite an accomplishment. That a woman is something other than “form”, that goes against some pretty old ideas.

    What I see, though, is absence, as much as presence: the hidden anorexic models. There was a great article about modelling in the German news yesterday, from a model talking about the horrible hunger. I couldn’t find it again for you, but I found this spanish work on fashion, which is fascinating:

    By exposing her own obesity in large works of art, she is forcing us, her public, to confront our own bodies’ insatiability, our shameful gluttony, our constant fear of losing control—of gaining weight. – See more at:

    By exposing her own obesity in large works of art, she is forcing us, her public, to confront our own bodies’ insatiability, our shameful gluttony, our constant fear of losing control—of gaining weight. – See more at:

    1. Sigrun says:

      Great comments – Thank you!
      Definitively agree with the strong gaze! And thank you also for Die Welt, very interesting – very scaring.
      I have a sense I’ve started something with this text that I have yet to finish.

  2. Rio says:

    I just read the article. It is very good. I was raised by parents who put a lot of importance on appearance. Being fat was definitely considered ugly. Also, they believed people who were fat were stupid, lazy and weak. When I started to put on weight a few years ago I was told, “Well, you’re fat enough for middle age, just don’t get any fatter!” I told my mother, “What if I got really fat just to spite you?” She cried, she actually cried as if I had said I was going to commit some terrible crime. It was ridiculous.

  3. Sigrun says:

    Dear Rio,
    your comment is both worrying & important. In many ways the body is (has become) a battlefield.

  4. Ren Powell says:

    I think your article was extremely interesting – but it doesn’t really address the real fear of the body become incapacitated in regards to performing, normal, every day functions (such as putting on a pair of hose). The fear her images instill in some of us, has not only to do with beauty, but with function. There is an interesting area of study here that scientists often address – the idea that what is functional IS beautiful, and vice versa. When the body becomes cumbersome and requires others to help with its own maintenance and function, it becomes frightening. Whether it is aging, illness or obesity. To discuss it purely in terms of aesthetics might not be a fair view of what exactly our fears are regarding her portraiture.

    1. Sigrun says:

      Good point – and you are surely right; there are many perspectives from where to study our reactions.
      But: in fashion we are celebrating a body so slim that it is self-destructive.

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