Went to see the Gustov Klimt exhibit at San Francisco’s Legion of Honor…. Loved this painting of Maria Munk, a painting Klimt had felt was unfinished…. Indeed, the top of the painting is far more rendered with texture and paint than the bottom, much of which seems to be simply charcoal on paper… But what Klimt saw as imperfect, as incomplete, is, perhaps inadvertently, perfectly complete – an Austrian example of Japanese wabi sabi…. It’s perceived flaw, its unfinished effort, thematically scores its sad beauty, especially when one considers that the model, Maria Munk, had taken her life at age twenty-four…. Her own unfinished, incomplete life is tragically displayed by Klimt’s “unfinished” effort.
In Zen-bending Japan, the idea of a “rustic, withered loneliness” turned romantic over time, adapting into an appreciation of flaws, a respect for spontaneous error.
American writer Ernest Hemingway urged fellow writers to imbue their characters with lots of flaws, the more the better; and the more real their characters seemed.
The Bible introduced a God willing to forgive our faults and flaws, someone to love us unconditionally, no matter our transgressions.
And the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi accepts the flaws in our efforts, appreciates them as examples of wu wei, as examples of unintended action, and then celebrates them — raising them to the level of art.