Today we are going to talk about the fond for sun faded paint. The eternal debate between conservationists and restorers, for me can be recalled as the eternal fight between narcissists and lovers. For almost a year now, I’ve been discussing with our brother Jimmy, (Honorary member of this house and owner of the infamous E.S. Baula), about his obscure and inner desires of restoring, re-painting, re-plating … our beautiful monster. What an unforgivable sacrilege in my opinion would be, getting rid of the patina and all the beautiful scars that accompany Baula’s gracious body, after four years of adventure, long nights and why not admit it, some riding miscalculations.
There is nothing worst, according to my very personal aesthetic view of the modern world, than a good restorer. Well… A bad restorer you could say! Well… No. A bad restorer is just an ignorant, but could easily be a humble man or woman, that not knowing better, employed his/her efforts into trying to bring more years to come to a certain piece, car or motorcycle. A good restorer, on the other hand, is a dangerous and pretetentious perfectionist. He himself tries to do better than the founding fathers. Its an egomaniac’s one way trip. He copies, substitutes, cheats and plays all sorts of tricks to “improve” the past, with no other artistic aspiration, than to simply find his joy in ruining history as it was meant to be. Then once the feat is finished, they tend to jail their achievements in between walls and never use them again, “as it would be a pity to “ruin” such fabulous treasure”.
In my inner discussion with good old Jimmy and the ill idea of restoring E.S. Baula, while on the hunt to pursue the definitive argument to let peace be, suddenly, the always handy Japanese beliefs came to my mind and to the rescue. You well hearted readers, make your own minds but as our wise gurus from the far east promulge: Save a bike, kill a restorer!@# 😉
Kintsugi (金継ぎ) golden joinery, or Kintsukuroi (金繕い) golden repair, refer to the Japanese art of fixing broken pottery with lacquer dusted or mixed precious metals (Gold, silver, or platinum). Not only there is no attempt to hide the damage, but the repair is literally illuminated giving more value to the broken piece! This philosophy treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise.
As with every view or aesthetic theorem emerging from Japan, there is a whole underlying philosophical world behind kintsugi which seems to be connected to the notion of wabi-sabi, which itself, is an embracing of the flawed or imperfect. By highlighting the cracks and repairs as simply an event in the life of an object, Kintsugi also relates to the Japanese philosophy of “no mind” (無心 mushin) which encompasses the acceptance of change and fate as aspects of human life.