Ancient and modern are spectacularly combined in the exhibition Buddha’s Life, Path to the Present at De Nieuwe Kerk. Admire a wealth of thousands of years old objects and contemporary art from artists including Ai Weiwei and Yoko Ono. The earliest object dates from the third century A.D. and the most recent from 2018.
The essence of Buddhism is enlightenment, attainable via a consciousness of the here and now. The exhibition makers, including co-curator and designer Siebe Tettero, illustrate the ‘now’ by including works by contemporary artists; some of these are new pieces specially created for this exhibition.
This is a Great Exhibition were it all come together.
The ancient works of art recount the life of Siddhartha Gautama, better known as the Buddha. Born a wealthy prince in the fifth century BC, he chose at the age of 29 to renounce his royal lifestyle and devote himself to spiritual development. The various phases in his life – his birth, renunciation, enlightenment, first sermon and death – symbolize Buddhist belief and form the narrative of this exhibition.
Upon entry, the visitor is welcomed by one of the highlights from the exhibition: a standing Buddha, measuring over two meters high and dating from the fifth – sixth century AD. After that, the visitor is attracted to works by Chinese artist Ai Weiwei and Kohei Nawa from Japan. Tree (2010), a piece by Ai Weiwei, and Kohei Nawa’s PixCell-Deer#51 (2018) appear visually and conceptually connected to the Buddha’s life story.
For decades, De Nieuwe Kerk Amsterdam has been known for its high-profile exhibitions about art, photography, and inspiring individuals and cultures. With an average of 220,000 visitors a year, the church is one of the most popular exhibition venues in the Netherlands. It also plays a role of national significance, hosting royal ceremonies, official gatherings, and cultural events.
One of Amsterdam’s most impressive historical monuments, De Nieuwe Kerk is a place of inspiration, commemoration, and celebration in Dam Square, the heart of the city.
Buddha’s Life, Path to the Present to visit till 3 Feb 2019