Tuesday, February 19, 2019

How You Move a Priceless 1.5-Ton Buddha Across Continents

By Anand Chandrasekhar
The Buddha statue at the site in Sahr-i-Bahlol from where it was excavated in 1909.
The loan of a three-metre tall, 2,000-year-old Gandhara-period Buddha statue proved to be a bigger challenge than anticipated for Zurich’s Rietberg museum. Museum curator Johannes Beltz remembers when he first set eyes on the statue housed in the Peshawar museum, located near Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan. “The museum was half empty as many exhibits were on their way to South Korea for an exhibition on Buddhism. The other artefacts were covered up as there was some renovation work going on,” he told swissinfo.ch. Disappointed, Beltz asked for the largest statue to be unveiled. It was love at first sight and he was determined to bring the huge stone sculpture to Switzerland. [More]

Bill Viola / Michelangelo: Life Death Rebirth Review – An Uneasy Dialogue

By Tim Adams
‘Divine muscular energy’: Michelangelo’s The Risen Christ, c1532-3. Right: Tristan’s Ascension (The Sound of a Mountain Under a Waterfall), 2005 by Bill Viola. Photograph: Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019; Bill Viola Studio
Eer since Bill Viola first pitched up in Florence as a 23-year-old film technician in 1974, there has been a certain inevitability that 45 years on he would end up here, sharing a mostly hushed and dimly lit Royal Academy with Michelangelo. Viola was in Italy back then working in a studio patronised by some of the pioneers of video art – including Nam June Paik and Bruce Nauman – but he was also encountering for the first time the work of Renaissance painters face-to-face in the city’s churches, an experience that he later described as something like “total immersion” for him. Along the way the two experiences – fresco and video, altarpiece and flatscreen – seemed to have fused in his imagination. Viola saw the possibility of recreating those 500-year-old visions of eternal truths for a contemporary audience – not in marble or paint or charcoal, but on screen. [More]

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