Ulrikke Bie: About lost and found beauty, butterflies and new foundations

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For a long time I have been drawn to your beautiful universe. What do you think has contributed to your original aesthetics?
Thank you so much! My mother is a talented artist. She never taught me how to ride a bike, tell what time it is or tie my shoelaces, but as a child I got to watch her paint and sew the most exquisite silk dresses and transform old dilapidated houses into works of art. My father showed my younger brother and I many remarkable places all over Europe, prior to which he had spent hours and hours carefully planning in the early mornings before work. While visiting old cathedrals, museums and restaurants he spoke of history, of wars, of symbolism in art, and of the joy in food, with a passion that was contagious. I am forever grateful to both of my parents for all they have taught me and it is beyond question that they have influenced me a lot.

“But beauty is fleeting and in constant motion, so sometimes I lose it and often it is not to be found where it was lost. And then I must search again, because without it I am lost.”

What is beauty to you?
Beauty is my Bethlehem star — the longing for beauty guides everything I do. To me it is a highly subjective and engulfing sensation caused by a person, written words, an image, an object, a building, an atmosphere, anything. But beauty is fleeting and in constant motion, so sometimes I lose it and often it is not to be found where it was lost. And then I must search again, because without it I am lost. To live in beauty means being receptive to sensory or intuitive impressions. Some people choose to encapsulate those impressions in a physical form in the shape of a piece of music or of jewellery or of poetry. Thus, beauty has a way of being born over and over again.

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What gives you butterflies?

When a moment in the company of other people holds potential in some way. For anything, really; silliness, crying, touching, kissing. Hearing and speaking Italian also still gives me butterflies.

What is your expectations for your 20s?

I expect to build something. I have felt very rootless in my teens and early 20s in more than one sense, I still do sometimes, but I no longer have a strong urge to run away. I want to lay the foundation of something beautiful that I can take care of and nourish — something tangible, like a house with a beautiful garden, or a loving community, a family, an audience with whom I can share my creations in which ever shape they come.

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Favourite topics to discuss in good company?

I live for the stories people tell about themselves! When meeting new people I want them to share their stories a lot faster than most are comfortable with. I want to listen to their tales of fears, dreams, love affairs, fantasies, childhood traumas, loneliness, despair. If I am being very honest these are the only subjects I truly truly enjoy. That, on the other hand, is my only criteria for what constitutes good company — a willingness to let other people peek into your pains and triumphs, and a curiosity for those of others.

What do you find inspiration in?

Ah, where to begin… Certainly, books and places. Also, my studies. In fact, when I began studying religion at the university I did not expect it to lead anywhere, I just wanted to be presented with all kinds of old material, be it grandiose myths, hauntingly beautiful art or a new language, to shape my perception of life and my writing. Twice I have attended actual writer’s courses, and both times inspiration failed me. For me, inspiration comes from living a full live with all it includes.

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Three most listened songs on your playlist?
O mio babbino caro, Maria Callas
Dernière dance, Indila
Yo x Ti , Tu x Mi, Rosalía and Ozuna

Favourite books/authors?
I have been drawn to Anaïs Nin for many years. She taught me that by sharpening my senses, I can reach a heightened mode of living that creates a connection between myself and the world around me that lacked before, and made me feel isolated and misunderstood. In terms of books, I adore Rimbaud’s Les Illuminations, the diary of Susan Sontag, Anna Karenina of Tolstoy, Jadekatten by Suzanne Brøgger, and Donna Tartt’s Secret History.

What would you tell a younger you?
Stop being such a diva and just get a stable job, friend group or apartment! Much suffering comes from not belonging and not feeling safe. Also, cancel that appointment with the tattoo store.

Instagram: @ulrikke_bie

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