UCCA presents "Silent Thunder," a group exhibition proposing new possibilities for the shape of Buddhist art through the work of artists Chen Lizhu, Chu Bingchao, Liao Fei, and Shao Yi.
From March 6, 2021 to May 23, 2021, UCCA Center for Contemporary Art presents "Silent Thunder," a group exhibition examining the links between Buddhism and contemporary art in China, interrogating the concept of "Buddhist art" as a whole. Featured artists include Chen Lizhu (b. 1979, Fujian province), Chu Bingchao (b. 1986, Pingliang, Gansu province), Liao Fei (b. 1981, Jingdezhen, Jiangxi province), and Shao Yi (b. 1967, Hangzhou). The exhibition begins from the premise that although the Chan school of Buddhism (known as Zen in Japanese, and defined by a focus on experiential understanding and meditation) originates in China, much of what is commonly considered a Chan aesthetic in contemporary art originates not from this source, but rather from a long-term process of translation, through which philosophers and artists working in the West came to define and influence the shape of what is now known as Buddhist art. The four artists featured in "Silent Thunder" approach Buddhism from varying angles, some earnestly engaging with faith and belief, while others utilize religious iconography as an entry point into broader social and historical questions. From these different perspectives, the artists use sculpture, installation, painting, and other media to propose how Buddhist and Chan art might be reimagined, at once bypassing and implicitly responding to external frames for understanding Buddhism. The exhibition is curated by UCCA Assistant Curator Neil Zhang.
Press release courtesy UCCA.