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Questions of Practice: Ernesto Pujol on Pursuing Aesthetics

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I would define aesthetics as an ethical form of beauty, as an ethical beauty. The notion of beauty currently being very controversial because the beautiful has been contaminated by the history of power, as we know it. But the aesthetic s-- to me-- the employment of beauty in an ethical way that does not sacrifice anyone or anything in the portrayal of the beautiful.

And the portrayal of the beautiful has also been decolonized so that it is not some notion of race-- the purity of race-- or some notion of classicism at the expense of what is not defined by classicism. So it is simply, seeking the beautiful in an ethical way, and understanding that humanity's always trying to transcend loss, which is to say pain, suffering, death. And beauty is one of the ways in which humanity seeks to transcend loss.

“Aesthetics,” performance artist and social choreographer Ernesto Pujol says, “is simply seeking the beautiful in an ethical way” by untangling it from “the history of power.” Pujol discusses the significance of pursuing the portrayal of beauty in his site-specific, durational works and its potential to transcend suffering.

See more from Pujol:
On reciprocal relationships with communities
On durational performance

Performance artist and social choreographer Ernesto Pujolcreates ephemeral, site-specific installation projects and durational group performances publicly addressing individual and collective repressed memories. The author of Sited Body, Public Visions: silence, stillness & walking as Performance Practice as well as numerous published essays on art education reform, Pujol’s work is held in the collections of the Bronx Art Museum, New York; El Museo del Barrio, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; and Museo Rufino Tamayo, Mexico City; among others.