October 2, 2003 – January 4, 2004
In 1995 after years of lobbying for permission, Hiroshi Sugimoto was allowed to photograph inside Kyoto's famed thirteenth-century Buddhist temple Sanjusangendo (Hall of Thirty-Three Bays). Working at daybreak, a traditional time for meditation, he captured the dawn light illuminating 1,000 statues of the bodhisattva Kannon, an enlightened being of boundless compassion. Sugimoto's photographs—gorgeous, richly detailed black-and-white images—frame row upon row of Kannon's subtly varied faces, and when presented together, they immerse the viewer in what Sugimoto has called a "sea of Buddha." These meditative images were complemented by a selection of familiar and rarely-seen works including several of Sugimoto's famous "Seascapes" as well as artists' books, the video Accedlerated Buddha (1997), and the print portfolio In Praise of Shadows (1999). This exhibition was presented in conjunction with Visual Mantras: Meditative Traditions in Japanese Buddhist Art. Spawned by the international cultural planning group "Awake: Art, Buddhism, and the Dimensions of Consciousness," these are two of many projects presented nationally during 2003-2004.
Curator: Stephanie Smith, Smart Museum Curator.
Presented in the Richard and Mary L. Gray Special Exhibition Gallery.