While visiting the puras of Bali I was really struck by a feeling of balance. Yet while religious spaces may generally have an air of serenity, what makes these temples most striking is how that feeling comes from the drastic use of both the beautiful and the grotesque in the same site: a grimacing guardian may look over a pool of delicate lotuses. For while to my Catholic-school reared mind concepts like 'good and evil' exist in dichotomy, they cohabit in the Hindu traditions of Bali; creation and destruction are not discreet forces, and that which is the most terrifying can also be the most protective. And certainly, the beauty of these spaces would not have been as sharply illuminated without their equal use of the grotesque.
Yet another product of my schooling I'm happy to leave by the roadside.