The Scale of Love by Milena Carbone

Explore the concept of love and its various forms as formulated by Ancient Greek philosophers in a fascinating exhibition at the Carbone Gallery by Milena Carbone herself.

What is love?

It’s a simple question but one which is extremely difficult to answer. We have all felt the touch of love sometime, somewhere but still find it hard to put this feeling into words. But is love just one single feeling, or is it a broader term for a range of different emotions?

The love that a mother feels for her child is completely different from the platonic form of love that exists between friends. The love that a couple feels for each other is once again an entirely different form. So exactly how many forms of love are there?

Milena Carbone’s latest exhibit “The Scale of Love” explores the different forms of love, each through a unique piece of art created to translate the feelings into pictorial form. To explore this exciting concept, Milena takes inspiration from a country with a rich culture and heritage – Greece.

Storge – The Scale of Love

Ancient Greek philosophy differentiates the main conceptual forms and distinct words for the Modern English word “love“. There are nine words in Greek for love, each referring to a different form of it.

  • Eros : passion
  • Philia : fondness
  • Eunoia : goodwill
  • Charis : kindness
  • Harmonia : harmony
  • Storge : affection
  • Mania : obsession
  • Pothos : longing
  • Agape : unconditional love

This exhibition was a part of Milena Carbone’s spectacular display at Noir Wen City last year called “Plead Guilty“. Originally known as “Nine Levels of Love“, Milena has displayed it in a completely new form at her gallery for those who missed her show last year, or wanted a chance to see it again in a different setting.

Harmonia – The Scale of Love

To summarize each of these feelings through images is not an easy thing to do. Some of these are even really difficult to put into words. But, as always, Milena utilizes her outstanding creativity and imagination to create a work of art for each of these feelings, not only summarizing them but also perhaps making the viewer feel some of the emotions associated with that particular form of love.

Milena’s images are rich in symbolism and metaphors. She consistently uses light tones and primarily pastel colors on a white background to bring out the soft emotions present within each art work.

Perhaps the most significant work in the exhibition is “Agape“. To me, the concept of “Agape” itself is not so easy to define. It is unconditional love – the highest form of love there is. The love of God for man and the other way round is an example of this. And if you look at the artwork closely, you will find plenty of hints suggesting this.

The pose of the model used in this image is a mixture of Jesus Christ and Gautam Buddha. But this usage also has another significance. If you look closely at the teachings of several religions, they all have one message – to have an unconditional love for all things in the universe. But it is the final piece of symbolism that makes this piece really special.

Agape – The Scale of Love

At the bottom of the image, one can find a small extract in French. This is from a letter written by a French Jew prisoner during World War II, saying they were being taken by train somewhere – to an unknown destination – not knowing what was waiting at the end of the journey. This letter of a prisoner during World War II rings true even in today’s circumstances with our life being like a train, hurtling towards a destination completely new and unknown to us.

The speech of Aristophane which can be found on one of the walls in the exhibition lends a very different perspective to the exhibition and the concept of love as a whole: “Love reestablishes the original nature, strives to merge two beings into one. Our species can only be happy under one condition, and that is to fulfill its love and desire, for everyone to meet their other half, and thus to return to their original nature.

Everything is connected, love unites us all and God is love – in some way, all religions and philosophies say the same thing, which is why the exhibition space has been set up like a Greek temple. Milena’s exhibition will not just teach you a lot of things, but will also provoke you to think, retrospect and possibly gain a new perspective on love and life.

Click HERE to visit The Scale of Love by Milena Carbone inworld.

You can also explore more of Milena’s work on her FLICKR page.