Kenyon College

Jorinde Voigt – The Art of Being Happy


Each of the 55 gilded panels in Jorinde Voigt’s The Art of Being Happy illuminates a rule from Arthur Schopenhauer’s book, The Art of Happiness. Although massive as a group, each panel is a separate note displaying abstract imagery and design simplicity. Originally confided in personal journals, Schopenhauer’s rules to reach happiness were not published until after his death. In this sense, Voigt’s hand-crafted diagrams preserve the personal aspect of Schopenhauer’s writing and breathe new life into his ideas.

Collectively, the piece is a crystallization of Schopenhauer’s work through Voigt’s visual language, with each panel serving as a map of one rule to happiness. Voigt’s handwritten scrawl and directional lines culminate in the gold leaf – a material historically associated with the sacred – where she reaches her most concise insight into the essence of the specific passage from the text.

Voigt’s pictorial notes on Schopenhauer’s philosophy reflect the fleeting quality of happiness and the process of achieving it. Through order and disorder, she evokes the ephemerality of happiness, and questions whether this ‘ultimate goal’ of the human experience can be reached by following the rules.

Casey Harner `18