Season 3 Episode 8: Klausbernd Vollmar on Ugliness

Welcome to Tea Toast & Trivia. 

Thank you for listening in.

Klausbernd Vollmar (Photo Credit Hanne Siebers)

I am travelling over 7,500 kilometers to Cley-Next-The-Sea, an idyllic artists’ village situated on the River Glaven in Norfolk, England. I am meeting up once again with my dear blogger friend, and professional author, Klausbernd Vollmar, who is an authority on colour theory and in the language of symbols in dreams and art.   In our last podcast, we explored the idea of beauty. Klausbernd has come back for another riveting conversation on the concept of “ugly” and ugliness. This promises to be an extraordinary discussion.

So, put the kettle on and add to your thoughts on Tea Toast & Trivia.  

Klausbernd Vollmar graduated with a (MA) in German and Nordic literature, philosophy, geology, and linguistics at the University of Bochum/Germany. In Finland and Germany, he worked as assistant professor specializing in symbol systems. Winning a postgraduate scholarship by the Canada Council, he came to Canada and worked for four years as lecturer at the McGill University, Montreal. He was an editor of several magazines in Germany, Canada, and Greece.

Klausbernd studied and graduated in general and clinical psychology at the Ruhr-University/Germany. Working in Germany and England in a private practice, his writing specialized on colour and symbolism.  His website is www.kbvollmar.com

Thank you, Klausbernd, for sharing your knowledge on ugliness and how it influences our lives an choices.  I appreciate our friendship that has evolved over the past years and the many conversations that are yet to come. You continue to inspire me and foster a compassionate community spirit.

Dear listeners, thank you for joining Klausbernd and me on Tea Toast & Trivia. I know you will enjoy following the extraordinary adventures of The Fab Four of Cley – Klausbernd, Hanne, Siri and Selma on their blog, The World According to Dina.  You are only an internet click away from a vibrant discussion that opens new avenues of exploration.

Until next time, stay safe, be well.

Liz Humphreys on 14 Weeks with Dante Alighieri Tea. Toast. & Trivia.

  1. Liz Humphreys on 14 Weeks with Dante Alighieri
  2. Eglund on the Art of Communication
  3. Darlene Foster Reading Amanda in Spain: The Girl in the Painting
  4. Elisabeth Van Der Meer and Dave Astor on Enduring Literary Themes
  5. The Trio on Letterwriting

85 Replies to “Season 3 Episode 8: Klausbernd Vollmar on Ugliness”

  1. That was a fascinating discussion. Ugliness is complex and something we have to come to grips with within ourselves and in how we see things as real and imaginary. Wonderful episode,

    Liked by 8 people

    1. Dear Timothy,
      thank you very much. You express exactly what this podcast is all about. What’s real, what’s imaginary, what is meaningful and what is meaningless etc.
      Great that you liked my little essay.
      Wishing you a wonderful week
      Klausbernd 🙂

      Liked by 8 people

    1. Thank you very much, dear Elisabeth,
      we quite often use the words ugly and beautiful without much thinking about it. They tend to become meaningless. If this podcast has changed this behaviour much is gained.
      All the best
      Klasusbernd 🙂

      Liked by 7 people

  2. An absolutely riveting, learned conversation with MANY layers, Klausbernd and Rebecca. Thank you! It was so interesting to hear about the origin of the word “ugly,” different perceptions of “ugliness” across time and cultures, and much more.

    One thing that fascinates me about this topic is thinking about “ugly” people who are beautiful inside, and vice versa. In literature, examples of that include Quasimodo of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” (mentioned in the podcast) — a really decent sort with a physical disfigurement; and Voldemort in the “Harry Potter” books — very handsome as a youth but already with a deeply evil heart.

    And one of my very favorite authors — George Eliot — was considered to be unattractive-looking, but what a mind and what sympathy she had for her unforgettable characters.

    Liked by 7 people

    1. Thank you very much, dear Dave 🙏 🙏
      As I already wrote on Dina and my blog:
      it’s very interesting to think about this contradiction of inside and outside. We quoted Michel Houellebecq, a very clever French intellectual who looks quite ugly too. I suppose ugliness quite often attracts beauty, opposites attract each other – a kind of law of wholeness. Like Voldemort, the devil was often seen as the beautiful seducer. In a lot of productions of Goethe’s “Faust” Mephistopheles, the devil was staged as very handsome. This goes back to the Christian ideology which was always hostile to the body and therefore the beautiful body had to be evil – and even more reprehensible the beautiful is sexy.
      Thank you very much, dear Dave, for your inspiring comment.
      Wishing you a wonderful week
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 6 people

    2. To your point, Dave, I’ve found that the physical appearance of someone who upon the initial meeting appears unattractive, actually changes as I get to know them.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Absolutely, Liz! It doesn’t only go for physical appearance, someones who smells badly (because of not being well) can appear unattractive too and it will change as you get to know the person better.
        One of my favourite authors is psychotherapist Irvin D. Yalom. All his books are riveting, sophisticated and highly entertaining. In “Love’s Executioner” he tells about an overweight woman and how his feelings change as he gets to know her better. It is the relationship that heals.

        Liked by 4 people

      2. It’s an interesting topic; perception and emotions – how strongly emotions affect what and how we view physical reality.

        Liked by 4 people

      3. That a beautiful physical appearance is associated with negativity goes back to Christian ideology. Beautiful physical appearance is seductive and sexual connotations are evil for Christians.
        Sorry, I am quite late reacting but I didn’t notice this string.
        All the best
        Klausbernd 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Dear Rebecca,
    thank you very much for inspiring me and giving me the chance to think about ugliness and ugly. And thank you very much, dear Don, for the perfect sound you created. It was sheer fun working together and I think this podcast radiates it.
    Ugliness is such an interesting topic, it’s a topic our collective conscience tends to suppress. I am really happy that you provided a space here to reflect and discuss what we all don’t like but what is trendy at the same time.
    With big hugs 🤗🤗🤗 and lots of love ❤ ❤ ❤ from the little village next to the big sea
    Klausbernd 🙂

    Liked by 7 people

    1. Dear Klausbernd, Thank you for sharing your insights on TTT. Don and I enjoyed working together and look forward to our next conversation together. You bring out the depth and breadth of the human experience. Thank you for adding an invaluable perspective on how to use the idea of ugliness in my exploration of art, literature, societal structure and philosophy. Going forward, I will seek understanding over criticism, reflection over rejection, openness over close-mindedness. This year I will read books that I have previously cast aside, view art that I didn’t understand and accept ugliness as essential to the human experience. I am honoured that you joined me on TTT. Your generosity and compassion add light and hope in a world of complexity. Much love and many hugs from Don and me coming to our dear friends, The Fab Four of Cley.

      Liked by 6 people

  4. Dear Rebecca, dear Klausbernd, and dear Don in the background ❤️

    What an inspiring conversation! I must confess, I have learned so much in a very short time following the conversations about ugliness here and on our blog that I have to express a huge thank you to all three of you. It’s mindblowing! Last Sunday I purposely went out and to capture ugliness for our co-post. What a disaster, I failed from beginning to the end. Looking back, could it be that I followed the wrong approach and subsequently didn’t get the ugliness I was hoping for?

    What is the purpose of a photograph?
    Oh dear, this is equally difficult to define as what is the purpose of a text?
    Surely it should thrive be a record of … what?
    Hmm, a unique situation, a unique point of view?
    Or rather, the illusion we call reality?

    And, ideally, should this record, this illusion, the point of view, trigger some reflection, some sort of emotion – good or bad, because if there’s no reflection, no emotion elicited in the audience, then the image has no impact at all – and thus won’t be remembered??
    Taking this one step further, does it matter if the emotion is positive or negative, like good and bad or beautiful and ugly?

    Thinking about my seals; I would never even think about capturing a mammal the way I captured the pile of shit in the abandoned farmhouse.

    What is ugliness if it’s the new beauty?

    I feel exhausted now, have to sleep it over and then it hopefully comes to me.
    Klausbernd says; we always look for answers.
    Yet, it’s more important to ask the right questions. This takes the burden off my shoulders. 😉

    Good night to you in Vancouver, big hugs and lots of love coming across the pond. Love you all!
    Dina-Hanne x

    Liked by 7 people

    1. Dearest Dina-Hanne, this conversation was mind blowing to me as well and continues to ignite a wider reflection for me. I especially appreciated Klausbernd’s thought on how his sister is able to provide understanding to those who do not see beauty in modern art (something that I have struggled with over the years.) Photography has become ubiquitous so that much of the thought and purpose behind a photo may be lost. When I view your photography, I “feel” the emotional nuances, which makes me pause, reflect and respond to the story and messages .

      I believe that the greatest benefit of photos is that they crystallize time that will never come again. When we press the button, time has been captured and can be archived. The story and message remains intact, but the responses will change over time. When I was talking with my mother, Frances, about the 1930’s I explored the photos of Dorothea Lange, Arthur Rothstein, Theodor Jung, to name a few. My mother said that the sandstorms were so thick that the chickens thought is was night and went to roost in the early afternoon. I could not envision this until I saw the photographs taken during the dust bowl. I am grateful for the photographers who recorded this time in history.

      I believe that your photographs record a pivotal time in our history as we find ways in which to respond to climate change. What you do is not easy – you brave the cold winds and walk for miles to capture photos that very few of us will experience except through your good work. Beauty and ugly come together for me in your photography: the ugliness of climate change combined with the beauty of life that continues in spite of the challenges ahead of us.

      So many wonderful conversations are yet to come. Sending much love and many hugs from the Budds to our dear friends, the Fab Four of Cley.

      Liked by 6 people

      1. Dear Rebecca,
        photography makes the time stop. Aldous Huxley wanted to write a novel about when the time has come to a stop. Unfortunately, he died before he really started. For Goethe in “Faust” making the time stop would give Faust into the power of the devil. But that’s a bit off the track here, sorry.
        Every photo is a historical document and few photos are more. They are producing something new – some new style or/and something new the onlooker is getting aware of. In a way, a ‘good’ photograph is beyond beauty and ugliness, isn’t it? And Hanne-Dina is able to produce such pictures.
        Big hugs 🤗 🤗
        Klausbernd 🙂

        Liked by 5 people

      2. I agree wholeheartedly, Klausbernd. Hanne-Dina has an extraordinary way capturing the essence of a time and awareness. I think her gift comes from a place of deep knowledge and compassion.

        Liked by 5 people

      3. Thank you so much for your kind and thought-provoking words, Rebecca. I’m also very grateful for the photo documentation from the past. My library of photo documentation and artwork by photographers are steadily growing and thanks to you, now including three books by and about Cindy Sherman. There’s so much learn from others.
        We just had another controversial discussion about why the images failed to present ugliness. I refuse to deliberately throw aboard anything I know about composition and editing in order to let my technical work appear “ugly”! 🙂 But this is not primarily about the ugliness in my photos; it IS difficult to capture the essence of ugliness. And besides; when we write or talk about ugliness we don’t change our art of WRITING or SPEAKING.
        Our discussion at the breakfast table was nevertheless very interesting (for the psychologist 😉 ) because of my NO! reaction.
        After having given it some thought, I agree;
        There is a very odd conflicting feeling caused by a beautiful image of an ugly object – almost akin to a guilty pleasure. Bottom line: be pleased if there’s any emotion from your audience at all; the stronger, the better. Be very concerned if there’s no reaction at all because it means the image does not work – beautiful or otherwise.
        For something to trigger emotion in us, it must touch our minds at an irrational level: This is probably the core of beauty or ugliness. It is impossible to describe why the proportions of one object might be beautiful, but another similar one grotesque; you cannot describe a set of rules to quantify when an unexpected asymmetry or design flourish results in the one imbalance that creates profoundness – or when it simply looks out of place. If anything, both beauty and ugliness are the opposite ends of the same thing: an exception to the ordinary. One triggers positive emotions, the other, negative. What qualifies as an exception is of course different to different people, and a product of their own experiences, biases and resultant preferences.

        What would you go for, dear Rebecca, if I challenge you to go outside with your camera or phone – what would you capture to illustrate “the ugly”? I wonder if any of the photo challenges out there ever had the topic “The Ugly”?

        Love and hugs to you
        Dina-Hanne

        Liked by 5 people

      4. Dina – I have read your comments over that over again. I had goosebumps when I read “If I challenge you to go outside…what would you capture to illustrate “the ugly.” I have no idea how I would accomplish this challenge. Your thoughts that “beauty and ugliness are the opposite end of the same thing, an exception to the ordinary” opens new doors of exploration for me. Why do we discount the ordinary? So many wonderful questions and conversations, Dina-Hanne. Sending much love and many hugs along with my gratitude.🤗🤗🤗🙏🙏🙏

        Liked by 3 people

      5. Dear Rebecca,
        you ask, why do we discount the ordinary?
        The ordinary doesn’t need to be expressed because everyone knows it anyhow. If you just follow the mainstream there is neither a chance to learn nor the possibility of changes, it’s just a standstill, it’s rigidity.
        The ordinary is boring, it lacks tension and therefore it isn’t interesting.
        We love the extra-ordinary
        HUGS 🤗
        The Fab Four of Cley
        🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Oh, another thought to keep me motivated. How do we change the ordinary into the extraordinary? A big thank you and hugs to my dear friends, The Fab Four of Cley!

        Liked by 2 people

      7. Oh dear, Rebecca and Klausbernd, I had just written such a long comment and suddenly the page did something like reloading and it was gone, so frustrating! I’ll try again. When this happen to KB (and you know he can write long) he says, I know what it was about, I’ll write it a second time and it’ll probably be better this time. I’m not expecting this outcome, so bear with me.

        “The use their language to transport a message. There is no communication without a message. But it matters if the senders understand what they communicate. Authors only communicate with other authors only in courses dealing with writing or on a higher level in the literary critique. But these are mostly not the authors who are active in the same genre.”

        Last night we watched a most interesting literary discussion; the four participants were highly educated in literature and languages and displayed four different views and ways of interpreting the novels. To watch was amusing, entertaining and educating.
        Yes, I agree, to be able to comprehend and appreciate an art form to its fullest, one has to be educated in it. However, many people that are not (and I’m not saying their opinion shouldn’t count), are not able to realize them all, and then only judge by what the literal subject of the image is: sunsets, flowers, etc, can separate the layers and have a better of what’s really going on. Any painting, photo, literature, dance dwell in the abstract: its composition depends on the principles of geometry, rhythm, hierarchy, scale, repetition and many others. So, a painting, a photo, a novel and so on is never only about the obvious subject matter. In a novel, the writer has to choose words not only for their meaning but also to convey a sense of rhythm when a person reads it while telling even a simple story. But, a person who knows about literature can find these resources the writer used and thus find the text much more enjoyable. The same with a painting: a Caravaggio may show, say, a child angel, but that’s not the only theme of the painting. It might be the eroticism of the figure, the play of light and dark areas, the saturation of certain colours.

        “You need a message and in a way every message is political. The message is the only reason for iconographic and verbal communication.”

        In Photography there are many things happening at the same time too, but to fully judge a photo, one has to be aware of them. And, the more educated one is in these kinds of things, the more one can understand the creative process of the photographer and appreciate more his sense of design and thought process. One might not LIKE a picture, but at the same time, one can learn to APPRECIATE it. And even more so if one also knows about art and photography history, because usually there are precedents and allusions, and these are also used to communicate with the people who know them.

        “In the end, there is the question what is left to communicate.”
        Phew, we are communicating a lot right now 😉
        “But, of course, you have to make sure that the receiver notices your message. That’s dependant on the media you use and whom you want to address.” Of course, and many gadgets allows more circulation of what we want to message, it depends on how you use them. Bisweilen, it drains me, I must admit.
        What puzzles me with no end, is what happens to a photograph put in a museum of modern art, or in a very reputable or cool gallery, or in well made and well-visited podcast/blog; all photographs become instantly better and much more valued.

        Time to go out in nature, the sun is out! 🙂
        Big hugs 🤗🤗
        Hanne

        Liked by 3 people

      8. Isn’t it wonderful to communicate!!! Life is the very best when share with kindred spirits. Your last paragraph resonated with me. I too am puzzled by how people believe that one photograph has more value than another simply because there has been a “vetting” process.” Which goes back to the question: Do we rely on social media and people who we consider have more expertise, to dictate what we should like? This relates to art, fashion, books, interior design. This is a very important internal conversation. Thank you Hanne for sharing your remarkable insights, which will keep me ever focused on my creative journey. Big hugs coming your way. The sun is up on our side of the world, too! It is lovely!!!!

        Liked by 4 people

      9. Dearest Rebecca,
        that would be an interesting topic: art critique and judging of artefacts. That’s a question about normative aesthetics (like in classic times, Goethe etc.) and a relativistic approach to aesthetics like the modern “everything goes” and a lot in between. As I said before, we quite often tend to see the relativistic side of a judgement because that provides the illusion of being special. A typical behaviour in our mass society, the illusion of freedom. Whereas I think there is an objective side of aesthetics too.
        With love and hugs from the little village next to the big sea
        Klausbernd 🙂

        Liked by 3 people

      10. Dear Rebecca,
        you ask, how do we change the ordinary to the extraordinary. By changing our perspective I suppose. My Gurdjieff-teacher taught us that when you thought you found an explanation or solution to a problem just ask yourself if the opposite could be helpful or valid as well. That’s one way.
        Thanks for all your inspirations 🙏 🙏
        Klausbernd 🙂

        Liked by 3 people

      11. Dear Hanne-Dina,
        I would say, the style is the message.
        There is no doubt that I appreciate your pictures. They are not ugly. There is a question if ugly pictures are possible in art. Art means to find a form of expression and by presenting the picture in a certain form it isn’t ugly any longer. At least in my way defining ugliness as lacking a reflected form.
        With lots of love
        Klausbernd 🙂
        XXX

        Liked by 2 people

      12. I love this quote by Brené Brown: “A good life happens when you stop and are grateful for the ordinary moments that so many of us just steamroll over to try to find those extraordinary moments.” As I look back, it is the ordinary that has become extraordinary in my memory.

        Liked by 2 people

    2. Dear Hanne-Dina,
      What’s the purpose of photography or writing a text? I assume that it makes sense to produce pictures or texts. Of course, one can question this but this would be too defeatist for me although looking at social media could easily make one think that here bumbling senselessness is celebrated. But I start by assuming producing pictures and texts makes sense. For me, the sense is to be found in that it produces a surplus, a ‘more’. It makes you see and understand more. Our usual limited way of thinking will be widened. So I suppose it is necessary that the picture and text have to transport a message. Without messaging no sense. If picture and text are just affirmative they tend to be kitsch that means they are ugly. If they are critical, if they create a critical distance then they make sense. So I ask myself does it make sense to produce pictures and texts without provocation. These are ideas of the Enlightenment which is always keen to make people learn. I think nothing of the neo-romantic ideas which want to touch the receivers emotionally like in Hollywood-films. This lulling of the recipients tends to be reactionary.
      These are my spontaneous ideas after having read your important questions.
      Love 🥰
      Klausbernd 🙂

      Liked by 5 people

      1. Dear Klausbernd,
        I have always pointed out, photography is a visual language; the more vocabulary we have, the easier it is to convey complex ideas…
        Like every photographer, my main purpose is to elicit a response in others. Who is the audience? If it’s only the photographer, then it doesn’t matter if it transports a message or not to a wider audience. Still, it’s got to do something for the creator. I suppose it works the same way with the text for an author.

        If we all liked the same things, would ART make sense at all?

        Love
        Hanne ❤

        Liked by 5 people

      2. Dear Dina,
        texts and pictures are both communicating illusions. The use their language to transport a message. There is no communcation without a message. But it matters if the senders understand what they communicate. Authors only communicate to other authors only in courses dealing with writing or on a higher level in literary critique. But these are mostly not the authors who are active in the same genre. The literary critique is a non-fiction writer whereas he writes about a fiction. Fiction and non-fiction are clearly seperated in literature. Well, you can only criticise in from an outside perspective or like Einstein, Bohr und Heisenberg already said, you can only understand something from another level. It doesn’t make much sense if an author critisizes another author (you had this, by the way, in the so called ‘Dichterkataloge’ in the literature of the 13th c.) as it doesn’t make sense to produce pictures for other photographers. Sounds a bit like the old fashioned l’art pour l’art.
        I absolutely agree that it’s necessary to have a wide range of iconographic vocabulary as a writer needs a wide range of verbal vocabulary. The problem is to express something different or new. That is hardly done as photographers as authors are influenced by books and workshops telling them how and what they should communicate. The specialist in the field of digitalisation of communication write that with every gadget you use reduces your language as well – that concerns more the photographers than the authors who don’t need much gadgets in comparison. In the end there is the question what is left to communicate. Or the other way round, how can we find something that’s worth communicating. Most of the people do the same thing and like the same thing and I agree with you in this respect art only makes sense if you are different. You need a message and in a way every message is political. The message is the only reason for iconographic and verbal communication. But, of course, you have to make sure that the receiver notices your message. That’s dependant on the media you use and whom you want to adress.
        Anyway, Siri 🙂 and I don’t have the answers but trying our best to find productive questions in a world that tends to outsource the reflection onto the media.
        Now, we are hungy. We should come down to earth and going to the kitchen for cocking.
        Thanks for your comment
        Klausbernd 🙂 and 🙂 Siri

        Liked by 4 people

      3. Klausbernd – this is a brilliant discussion that I will take with me in the coming days. There is so much that you have given me to think about, especially “what is there left to communicate….or what can we find something that’s worth communicating….” And then there is your words: “in a world that tends to outsource the reflection onto the media.” There is much food for thought and for the soul. Many thank yous along with hugs and love to my dear firends, the Fab Four of Cley! 🤗🤗🤗🙏🙏🙏

        Liked by 2 people

      4. Dear Rebecca,
        in a way, I am quite old fashioned following the motto of the Age of Enlightenment: sapere aude. Dare to think and of course to think as much independently as possible. You are usually more clever than you suppose.
        With lots of love ❤ ❤
        Klausbernd 🙂

        Liked by 3 people

      5. Old fashioned is a great way to be, Klausbernd!!!! As Henry David Thoreau once wrote: “Think for yourself, or others will think for you without thinking of you.”🤗🤗🤗🤗🙏🙏🙏🙏

        Liked by 3 people

  5. What a fascinating and complex presentation of this theme! I agree that the power of ugliness resides in its provocation for us to feel, think and examine more deeply, rather than dismiss with fear or disgust. There’s an opportunity for healing both individual and community as you say, Rebecca. Revelation and light are good but not necessarily beautiful. They can be terrifying as are secrets and darkness. If demons can masquerade as angels of light, there is the twist! But I digress…We shouldn’t worship beauty anymore than ugliness but rather see their relationship in helping us toward a wisdom of looking beyond and within. The rebellion Klausbernd speaks of is against superficiality. Love it!!

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Dear Mary,
      indeed, ugliness is a rebellion against superficiality and all convention. It’s breaking the tabu. Therefore the beauty loves the beast. The beast gives her more dimensions and helps her on the way to freedom. I would say there is no light without darkness. Darkness lets the light shine. Symbolically darkness is associated with chaos which is the beginning of all creation. “You have to have chaos in you to give birth to a dancing star”. I agree with Nietzsche.
      Anyway, thanks for commenting.
      All the best
      Klausbernd 🙂

      Liked by 4 people

  6. Again I can only echo what others have said- a wide ranging and facinating discussion- a perfect companion to beauty. Listening brought forth all sorts of things I thought forgot.
    The painter Guiseppi Archmbold still lifes where he produces grotesque portraits from fruit and veg – even dead fish and fowl.
    When Klausbernd spoke of how blemishes in nature may be thought beautiful, I immediately thought of two of my favourite portrait artists Stanley Spencer and Lucian Freud. Their paintings are achingly beautiful because their subjects exhibit all the frailty of humanity.
    I could go on all night. Mercifully I won’t. Just to say I liked the idea that beauty is instinctive, easy (lazy?) and socially defined. How ugliness has to be examined to find its artistic merit and so involves the viewer on a more intimate level. The ideal of feminine beauty was generous porportions(shall we say) from paleolithic Venuses to Reubens amply fleshed matrons- all standing in stark contrast to our Size-0 beauty queens of today.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Dear Paul,
      thank you VERY much for your great comment and for all the examples you mention from the history of art. This adds well to my explanations. We could easily talk together for ages about this topic. Maybe one day we’ll meet and we do it with a nice drink. Meanwhile, we use the second-best exchange of ideas that Rebecca kindly provides for us.
      Wishing you all the best and thanks again
      Klausbernd 🙂

      Liked by 5 people

      1. That sounds great Klausbernd -actually we are only across the way from you in the Brecon Beacons. Once this lock-up is finally over the magical Norfolk is very much on one of our list of places left to visit. Best to all Paul

        Liked by 4 people

      2. Dear Paul,
        you are very welcome at ours. Hanne-Dina will guide on Blakeney Point.
        We will surely visit your area again. Two years ago, we visited Hay on Wye for some time to browse the book shops there. We made some trips into the Brecon Beacons as well. Wow, it was so windy there that we hardly could open our car doors. We will surely visit the book paradise of Hay on Wye again.
        Okay, come around as soon as it is save.
        All the best from the sunny coast of Norfolk
        Klausbernd, Hanne-Dina and our two Bookfayries Siri 🙂 and 🙂 Selma

        Liked by 3 people

  7. A VERY interesting, instructive, broadening podcast! ! ! I feel like I have just visited a university and listened to an very accomplished, very educated, very experienced. and very gifted lecturer. I have determined when I read this again, I will make notes on this important podcast. Thank you to Klausbernd Vollmar, Rebecca and Don for this very outstanding podcast.

    Liked by 5 people

  8. Dear Ms Frances,
    thank you sooooo much for your kind words. It has been fun and was hard at the time to think about ugliness. With most of the topics, you have forerunners you can refer to either affirmative or criticising. But here I had to think without very few authorities I could refer to. I couldn’t stand on the shoulders of great thinkers. Actually, this was quite emancipating to be free from any father-authorities. There has been hardly any topic before that had such a therapeutic effect on me. I wasn’t aware of it in the beginning but I noticed an inner resistance. As more, I reflected on what I was doing contemplating ugliness as more I became aware of how this affected me. And I suppose that’s what ugliness does if we let ourselves in to contemplate ugliness.
    I wish you all the best, keep well
    Klsausbernd 🙂

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Vielen Dank, Eglund, für Ihre Unterstützung und Ermutigung zu lebensbejahenden Gesprächen. Klausbernd besitzt tiefe Einblicke in Schönheit und Hässlichkeit, die er großzügig mit den Zuhörern teilt. Seine Großzügigkeit zeigt sich auch darin, wie er auf die vielen Kommentare reagiert, die dem Podcast folgen. Seine Englischkenntnisse sind einwandfrei, seine Gedanken werden mit Beredsamkeit gegeben. Die Zuhörer haben Klausbernd gebeten, zu weiteren Gesprächen über Tea Toast & Trivia zurückzukehren. Bemerkenswert ist seine Fähigkeit, sich durch Stimme und Schreiben mit anderen zu verbinden. Ich danke Ihnen, Eglund, dass Sie dieses Gespräch geteilt haben. Mit Dankbarkeit, Rebecca

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Dear Rebecca,
        that’s perfect German, I am impressed! Well done 👍 👍
        With its of love ❤ ❤ and hugs 🤗 🤗
        Klausbernd 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

      2. You are too kind, Klausbernd . I am using a translator which is a wonderful tool for communication. Hugs and love coming back!!!🤗🤗🤗🤗

        Liked by 2 people

  9. Vielen Dank, lieber Eglund, für die Verlinkung dieses Podcasts und auch für dein Lob von Rebecca und mir. Das hat mir sehr gut getan, zumal ich meine Probleme mit meinem Englisch habe, das ich nicht als elegant empfinde. Aber es scheint einigen nichts auszumachen.
    Mit lieben Grüßen vom frühlingshaften Cley und ganz herzlichen Grüßen
    Klausbernd 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Wow, this is so interesting, and very personal.
    I grew up thinking big noses were ugly. I married the most gorgeous man I ever met. He has a huge nose.
    Ugly is the new beauty. Pink is the new black.
    Could dust ever be the new water?
    Having worked in fashion and film for my entire career, I see how ugly and beauty are stereotyped, and used accordingly.
    Thereby ugly, as beauty, is used as Klaus says, for effect. Good or bad, pleasant or unpleasant, it is someone’s manipulation of the ideas. Artists, creators set the tone, in this area. Wherein are we intellectually safe?
    Our unknowing, naive selves may see things differently.

    I often think of Jean Harlow. She was an acclaimed beauty in her day. My mom always talked about how my aunt Wanda, who was 20 years my mom’s elder, thought Jean was the most beautiful woman on earth. Could Harlow even get a casting call today? Her looks are pugnacious. I make an evaluation here, an evaluation of what I think other people will think. I think differently, for myself.

    I’m probably numb from my career. There is no beauty, no ugly.
    There’s just what it is.

    🎶 Ugly ugly bo bugly banana fanna fo fugly, fee fi mo mugly, ugly. 🎶
    I’ll kiss a frog! No sweat.

    Now, to say age is not ugly.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thanks a lot, dear Resa, for your inspiring comment 🙏 🙏
      Every judgement is dependent on the zeitgeist, isn’t it? We need the dichotomy of ugly and beauty because of the dynamics between these two concepts. And I suppose especially the judgement ‘ugly’ is very important in art. The minute you call some artefact ugly you are starting a communication. Especially ugly but beauty as well are communication-openers. And art is about communication, isn’t it? It would be boring to throw the concepts of ugly and beauty overboard.
      Wishing you a wonderful week
      Klausbernd 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

    2. You have the best comments, Resa! Thank you for adding depth and breadth to this conversation, which is derived from your experiences in an industry that has enormous influence on our perception of beauty and ugliness. Interesting thought on Jean Harlow. She had an unusual look and expressive eyes which attracted attention. Something to think about. That last song will be in my mind today.🥁🥁🥁 Sending hugs!🤗🤗🤗

      Liked by 3 people

    3. Resa, as I was listening to the discussion and reading the comments, the thought of signs of age being equated with ugliness crossed my mind as well. I’d expect there are both cultural and biological factors at play.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Good afternoon, dear Liz,
        I think so too. For a lot of people consciously and more so subconsciously ugliness is associated with age – or let’s say beauty will be reduced with age.
        That this isn’t politically correct doesn’t help. It’s always a question of how we define ugliness as well. If we define it for ourselves.
        Thanks for commenting.
        Wishing you a wonderful weekend
        Klausbernd 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Yes, both cultural and biological factors are in play. Nonetheless, how did ugly come into the conception? Why not wise looking, achieved or complete?
        I think it’s a fear of death. The closer we get to it, the uglier it seems, and therefore we reflect that ugly
        Do I make sense?.

        Liked by 3 people

      3. It makes sense to me, Resa. Even those who say there don’t fear death, still must acknowledge that they are heading into the unknown.

        Liked by 2 people

      4. Dear Resa,
        at least in the Germanic languages, the term ugliness was first used for symptoms of the plague and other diseases. This shows clearly that it’s connected to the fear of death. A shift in the semantic field of ugliness came much later.
        Thanks for your comment
        Klausbernd 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  11. This was a fascinating discussion of cultural and biological definitions of ugliness and beauty and the relationships among them. I was particularly struck by Klausbernd’s comments on our need to have the artist explain the concept behind a work that may appear ugly to the casual observer. I’ve always taken issue with that notion–but based on some artists’ salons I’ve attended in the past several months, I’ve had a change of heart. The work and the artist’s statement work hand-in-hand, and rightly so.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I agree, Liz. There is an energy that comes through the artwork that reaches out to us, disrupting our preconceptions of what we believe art to be. At present, I am looking into NFTs. What is that you may ask? That is the question that has come to be this week. It seems to be the new artwork. “The latest Internet hype is about a thing that doesn’t really exist. Some collectors are spending millions of dollars on digital items called NFTs, and here’s the thing – anyone can make one of these.” Check out this excellent article.
      https://www.npr.org/2021/03/05/973929514/whats-a-non-fungible-token-why-some-collectors-are-spending-millions-them. The question becomes, how to we interpret this art. Do we discount it in the same way people of Vincent van Gogh’s day discounted his art. There are many questions that came out of Klausbernd’s discussion about ugliness that has made me look closely at my ability to embrace what I don’t understand.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I just read the NPR article. I had no knowledge of the NTF phenomenon. I think I’ll take a wait- and-see stance to see if it meets the old-fashioned definition of art as standing the test of time–which in internet time is 15 minutes?

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      2. Dear Rebecca,
        you ask the question ‘what is art?’
        Art is what is perceived as art which has to do with the status of the producer, the surrounding in which it is presented and the definition of the (self-proclaimed) specialists.
        Wishing you a happy week, love and hugs
        Klausbernd 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Thank you, Klausbernd for adding so much to my understanding about art. You have given me something to think about this coming week. There is so much to this conversation….. Sending hugs and love to my dear friends, the Fab Four of Cley.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Thank you soooo much, dear Rebecca. It’s my experience that thinking about ugliness is a kind of key to unserstanding art – and especially modern art.
        I am very happy that I gave you inspirations for ways of how to see art, art critique and modern art.
        Lots of love
        xxx
        Klausbernd 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Dear Liz,
        is it part of your definition of art that it will be perceived as art for a long time?
        That’s an interesting idea I have to think about.
        All the best
        Klausbernd 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Good evening, dear Liz,
        you recommended “Frankissstein” for me. I have read now three-quarters of it and I am enthusiastic. What a clever philosophical novel about AI, robotic and the mind and body problem. It’s one of the best novels I have read this year which gives me a lot to think about.
        Thank you VERY much 🙏 🙏 🙏
        All the best
        Klausbernd 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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