Spielzeit 26.08. - 09.10.

Footsteps of Buddha

Aspects of Buddhism in Contemporary Art

A collaborative exhibition between the Kunstmuseum Bochum and the Ruhrtriennale

The exhibition title Footsteps of Buddha is a reference to the tradition from the early centuries of Buddhism never to represent Buddha as a person but only by means of his footsteps or footprint. Such footprints can still be found today in the land around Theravada, the oldest Buddhist school, and provide aids to enlightenment or represent the presence of the sublime one. They may of course be imprints occurring naturally in the rock or artificially created representations complete with various symbols. At the same time the footprint points to the path to enlightenment: the world is not a being but a path, whose course is always changing. Here the title can be understood as a metaphor which reflects the influence of Buddhist philosophies in the work of contemporary Asian artists.

The exhibition considers historical aspects and presents appropriate exhibits. The contemporary perspectives on display should not be understood as Buddhist in a religious sense, but from a philosophical and aesthetic point of view, which is clearly distinct from Western and Christian notions of thought and image. Concepts of existence, being, spirit, anti-individualism, indifference, emptiness, absence, reality or illusion and how they are reflected in contemporary art are highlighted. There are also a number of artists who quote Buddhist art forms, such as Nam June Paik, who turns a Buddha watching tv into a multilayered contemplative installation. Other artists create works in which the traces of Buddhism are invisible but can be found conceptually. For example the photographs of Atta Kim use very long exposures to picture cities like Paris, London, New York or Peking through their emptiness. The Korean artist provides a pictorial equivalent of the notion of »anicca«, the inconstancy of being.

Footsteps of Buddha is the result of a close collaboration between the Ruhrtriennale and the Kunstmuseum Bochum. It has been curated by Willy Decker and Hans Günter Golinski.

Exhibition from 28th August to 13th November 2011
For more information and Tickets please contact the Kunstmuseum Bochum.

The exhibition »Footsteps of Buddha – Aspects of Buddhism in Contemporary Art« at the Kunstmuseum Bochum is supported by the Kunststiftung NRW and the Sparkasse Bochum.