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The hardest jigsaw puzzle in the world, the never-ending civilization

The former was planned by the Xinjiang Kuzi Academy and co-sponsored by the Mumu Art Museum to try to present the work of the Kucha Institute in the past 20 years. The latter was planned by the Mumu Art Museum and revolved around the art gallery’s collection of Kizil grotto murals. The contemporary perspective begins with narrative and dialogue.

This exhibition utilizes all the space of the museum. The first floor is “Overseas Kizil Grottoes and Cave Restoration Image Exhibition”, and the second floor is “Monks and Artists” exhibition, but the exhibition content is not divided accordingly. Two parts, but through ten consecutive small units to expand the narrative. The basic point of viewing this exhibition is the Kizil Grotto art in a specific time and space. However, from this point of view, our sight can be seen in the distance between ancient and modern China and foreign countries. One is related to ancient Buddhist art and the Silk Road. Time and space; first, a series of questions related to contemporary art creation, heritage governance, and historical writing.

Jigsaw puzzle and "spirit" reappear

On the first floor, the “Overseas Kizil Cave Paintings and Cave Restoration Image Exhibition” seems to tell the viewer a story about the world’s most difficult “puzzle” game.

The entrance of the exhibition hall is intended to imitate the shape of the caves that are common in the cave temple. After entering, the viewers find themselves in a deep and gorgeous blue color - all the walls are painted with the same blue color as the lapis lazuli pigment. It is a precious pigment from Afghanistan that is used extensively in the Kizil cave paintings. On this deep and elegant background, there are hanging mural fragments of different sizes and shapes - they are all restorations made according to the original situation, which truly reflect the characteristics of the existing murals on the image.

In the first module of the exhibition, we can see the mysterious enamel ornamentation of the 212th Cave of the Kizil Grottoes, the Brahmin and the Bichon, the cave of the 77th cave, and the vividness of the 184th cave. Daobao's "Buddha story and story map"; there are also images from the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia, from the Kuzi 184th Cave, the image of the 186th cave, and many other overseas lost murals. image. Most of the murals taken by the Western expeditions at the beginning of the last century were “disabled”, “broken” and “scattered”, from the different sides of the main walls of the grotto, the front wall, the side walls of the ramps, in order to return them to the original. The location, reconstructing the overall image of the local destruction, the efforts of Chinese scholars are not a day's work.

In the other part of the exhibition hall we can see the hardships and difficulties in this – almost all the large images that are relatively complete in image narrative and structure are composed of multiple pieces. Finding these fragments and fragments that have been lost all over the world is only the foundation. What is more challenging is to make constant matching attempts until the final cave, wall and position are finally determined! Isn't this the most difficult "puzzle" in the world? This kind of jigsaw puzzle is actually not a "game". Although it has the fun of games, it is more of a heavy career and mission, and a sense of accomplishment accompanying it. At the seminar in conjunction with the exhibition, Dr. Zhao Li from the Xinjiang Kuzi Research Institute shared her experience in investigating and studying in Germany. She listened to her about how she was above the research results of Japanese scholars. The murals have found a few missing images and have to be moved by all the quiet work and great efforts in this cause.

But after a sigh of relief, looking around at the replicas of these murals, there seems to be a lack of something - that is probably the unique "aura" that Benjamin said of the original artwork. Benjamin believes that the fading thing in the era of mechanical reproduction is the aura of art works, while the art historian Wu Hung once emphasized the importance of the "context" in the study of art history, when we focus on the "original context" From the perspective of these duplicate images in the exhibition, we will realize that these images are presented to us in the original environment of their existence, including its space and function. As an integrated art, the art of grottoes is an organic whole. Therefore, it is inevitable that the murals, which are an integral part of the whole, will be drawn out, which will inevitably lead to a larger context and the absence of the atmosphere (not to mention that if the murals are viewed as a separate system, the damaged images are only separated from the whole. Partial).

One of the highlights of this exhibition is that it compensates for this shortcoming by simulating the experience of the cave.

In addition to the full reproduction of the current status of the two caves, the equal proportions of the caves at Cave 38 and Cave 14 of the Kizil Grottoes include the representation of the existing overseas mural images of the original caves in their original positions. The viewer can enter the two simulation caves with the flashlight prepared by the staff, and carefully look at each Buddha statue and each tattoo in the cave by the faint light. Cave 38, which was built around the 5th century AD, is the central pillar. This system is the highest level of Buddhist caves in Buddhist caves. The inner space of the cave consists of the front room, the main room and the ramp. In the simulation cave, you can see three large-scale sayings and a column of Tiangong music pictures on the left and right walls, as well as numerous sky phase diagrams and Bunsen story diagrams. The 14th cave is a square cave that does not have an altar. Its function is similar to that of the central pillar cave. The back wall is open to the original sitting image. There are two statues of the Buddha on the left and right sides. The most subtle aspect of this cave is the story of the karma and the story of the birth in the shape of the top of the mountain. The rhombic painting is the unique artistic expression of the Kucha Grotto. It is painted in the top of the cave, in red. White, blue, green and other hue are arranged, complicated and not chaotic; each diamond shape is composed of several mountain peaks, so it is also called “diamond mountain”; each mountain is often dotted with flowers and grass, and painted with animals and trees. Wait.

In the dark caves, the color sea that once was bright and bright has become bleak under the dust of time. It is the face and the mottled clothes on the Buddha statue, but the scenery seen by the heart is Thousands of years ago, the monks were alone in the cave, a candlelight, a brush of piety and calm. The Kizil Grotto as a "spiritual" of art has inevitably suffered from abrasion. Today's efforts and attempts to recall this faintness are not only at the technical level, but also at the technical level. There is more reshaping and creation of the spiritual landscape beyond it.

"home" mural

If you just saw the “Restoration Image Exhibition”, let us take a look at the exquisiteness of the Kizil Grotto art in an overview, then the “Monks and Artists” exhibition on the second floor of the museum provides several for the viewers to further In-depth case.

Four pieces of Kizil grotto murals from the Mumu Art Museum collection are undoubtedly the highlights. The first work collected in the museum was purchased in Japan in 2016. This ruined mural shows a woman's face with a secret smile, the lines are soft and flexible, and the look is calm and calm. It was later confirmed as the head image of the Kucha royal family in the lower left side of the front wall of the main room of Cave 171. The second piece is a meditation Buddha image also purchased from Japan. From the size of the painting frame, the proportion of the surrounding body light, the direction of the Buddha's gaze, and the Mahayana belief prevailing in the Hotan area, referring to the characteristics of the remaining murals unearthed in the area, it is inferred that it is the theme of the "Thousand Buddhas" in Mahayana Buddhism. Many of the eyes are speculated to come from the theme of "Thousand Eyes" in Buddhism. It is very rare for images of Mahayana beliefs and esoteric subjects to appear simultaneously in a mural. The third piece is a mural with no inscriptions on the side of the 2018 entry. It is suspected that it was taken from the Kizil Grottoes in the early twentieth century by the Japanese Otani Expedition or the German von Leko Expedition. From the right-hand view of the character, it can be inferred that it is a heavenly person on the left side of the Buddha (the heavenly people live in the heavens and the sentient beings in the world). This mural uses the most typical lapis lazuli blue pigment in the Kizil Grottoes, which complements the crimson lines that outline the faces of the characters.

The above three works were arranged in the fourth, fifth and seventh units of the exhibition, and one piece was placed at the end of the exhibition – this was once mistaken for Dunhuang, actually from Muir's name to be named. The characters in the painting are five-year-old, with a stunned eyebrow and a large earring with typical exotic features. According to the main characteristics such as “Wuyi”, Prof. Inoue Hiro of the Public Art University of Akita, Japan, speculated that it was Gan Dapo (a god in Buddhism who supported the Buddha with music and aromas), and Professor Yamaguchi of Waseda University believed that It is another god similar to Gan Dapo. There are also opinions based on the description of "The Great Brahman is turned into a boy, the first five horns" in Volume 5 of the Chang A Han Sutra. In combination with other similar murals, the image of Wuyi generally appears at a lower position than other tasks. The depiction of the body is also relatively short, and the figure is that the character is a boy. Therefore, the identity of the character is still controversial, and the name of the work can only be tentatively set as "Five-Yang Gan Da Po (?) Wuyi Boy (?)".

Putting this piece of work that is not the latest in the collection at the end, perhaps hopes to remind everyone that it has not yet solved the mystery: the journey of exploration and discovery of the Kizil Grotto art has not yet reached the end, and the writing of art and history There is no end.

Is it a monk or an artist?

However, the “monks and artists” are not just about the four “faces”. This is an exhibition that tries to integrate ancient exhibits with contemporary art. It hopes to link the spatial ties between the East and the West and grasp the ancient and contemporary. The link between time. From time to time, to space.

Therefore, in the fifth unit of the exhibition, a group of seven portrait sculptures from ancient Egypt, ancient Greece, Gandhara and ancient China, starting from the 4th century BC to the 5th century AD, was tried in ancient Buddhism. Within the framework of the art of imagery, a series of visual evolutionary trajectories spanning geography and the era. However, the number of exhibits and the lack of relevant research explanations make this connection seem to be incapable in terms of depth and strength, especially for viewers with insufficient background knowledge, more of a visual landscape.

The exhibition's connection between the ancient part and the contemporary part is handled ingeniously. The vicissitudes of ancient works of art have suffered varying degrees of damage. They have witnessed the birth, prosperity, destruction and rebirth of civilization, and embodied the footprint of the blending and changing of Eastern and Western cultures. This way of carrying the traces of history in the form of matter has been continuated in the creation of contemporary art, and incorporates reflections on various "marks" and "scars" in human civilization. This reflection was presented in the video of the Algerian French artist Kader Attiya, "Open Your Eyes" - the image shows the face of the injured soldier in the first battle and the art institutions in different regions in a two-screen manner. An image of the mask being repaired. There are a lot of "faces" appearing here, and they are just the representative and epitome of more "faces". The juxtaposition of ancient exhibits such as the Kizil grotto murals presents a new context for understanding this work: human civilization is always in a state of “repair”, and this view is how to understand and face “History and cultural trauma” may be instructive.

In addition, there is a special space called “Contemporary Spiritual Caves” in the contemporary art section. The museum invited several artists in the field of contemporary art to station here for several days to create freely. Each artist has the right to erase the traces of the previous artists' creations. The viewers will witness the artist's creative process and the final works.

Unlike the ancient works that have been deposited in history, the art here is in the process of dynamics and change. They are happening. They have not yet become "history". They are not "confirmed" and "worship", but one thing is The same - they can not predict their own destiny and ending, the situation of the two is in a period of change for a long time, full of possibilities and variables. The curatorial team linked what was happening here with the practice of ancient monks practicing in the grotto, trying to create a two-time time and space and the encounter and overlap of the two identities. This is a topic of the topic "Monks and Artists" in this exhibition. This also reminds me of some contemporary artists who, through repeated writings, "Lanting Preface" (Qiu Zhijie), hand-painting one and the same cross structure on the canvas until the picture is filled (Ding Yi), adhere to 365 days a day. “Card Punch” (Xie Deqing) reinterprets his understanding of time, or responds to Buddhist teachings, with the creative behavior of “cultivating in time”.

When I went to see the exhibition, an artist was working on his electronic music. Four benches were placed in the exhibition hall, but the audience did not sit down and listened to it quietly or communicated with the artist. The artist with headphones is sitting in front of the laptop doing his own thing, and the ethereal music is floating in the afternoon sun. Such a scene is indeed a bit of a "loose" taste of practice.

Contemporary art spiritual cave

Finally, let us recall: In these two “parallel” exhibitions, how do the clues of ancient and contemporary, Eastern and Western, how to structure the complex connections between each other in their respective journeys? What did we see in it? No or can't see anything?

The capacity of the exhibition itself is not very large, but there are quite a few thoughts that can be triggered. What we can see is not only the "puzzles" and the "face". For example, in the context of the relationship between “scar” and “repair” between concrete and abstract, in this exhibition, you can see the influence of digital technology on the historical process of mural restoration, as well as the system and grandeur. The "legacy" governance cause and the "memory" writing project have special significance for national and cultural trauma.

In the restoration and reconstruction of the "original territory" of the two exhibitions, the ancient art works mainly from worship value to display value and experience value. This phenomenon may be helpful for thinking about art from the perspective of ontology. On the other hand, we may also wish to think about a larger "inherdance": the historical role of Central Asia as a channel of civilization and a strong heart. When the axis civilization at its ends is in the dark, it often becomes a place to release the possibilities of various civilizations, generating something that its civilized mother does not have, and in turn transports fresh to the decaying axis civilization. Blood and vitality, Buddhism was introduced into the Central Plains through the Western Region is a typical case. After entering the era of industrial civilization, the positive role of this land has become turbulent.

Look at the exhibition, with a remembrance of the distant ancient times, a sigh of the historical process, and awe of time, the sound of the mouth of the viet, the camel bell is long.