Paola Pivi and Heman Chong

Paola Pivi and Heman Chong

Kunstinstituut Melly

January 10, 2013

Paola Pivi
Tulkus 1880 to 2018

Heman Chong

Witte de With | Center for Contemporary Art
Witte de Withstraat 50
3012 BR Rotterdam
The Netherlands

info [​at​]

Paola Pivi
Tulkus 1880 to 2018

25 January–5 May 2013
Opening: Thursday 24 January, 6–9pm

Witte de With is excited to unfurl her 2013 program with Tulkus 1880 to 2018, a mastodontic artwork and work in progress by Paola Pivi. Based on extensive international research and aimed at creating a complete collection of portraits and basic information on all the tulkus of the world—who in Tibetan Buddhism are the recognized reincarnations of previous Buddhist masters—from the beginning of photography until today, from all the schools of Tibetan Buddhism and Bon, and from all the areas of the world where these religions are practiced, this growing survey has until now collected over 1100 photographic portraits. Manifesting in a stunning array of forms, from high-production color prints to inexpensive photocopied reproductions, and in scales ranging from pocket-size to large format, these images are the same ones commonly treasured in monasteries, hung in private households or shops, or collected by the faithful. Considered holy by the Buddhists, the photographs of the tulku are believed to have the same power as the tulku themselves.

Tulkus 1880 to 2018 uncharacteristically lays bare these objects of specific veneration within the confines of a religiously plural, and often secular art institution—an institution that conversely is not known for presenting nominally sacred objects to its audience, and is itself enshrined within a long history of aesthetic discourses that attempt to establish a ‘visual neutrality.’ Tulkus 1880 to 2018 is co-commissioned by Castello di Rivoli Museum of Contemporary Art and Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art. For more information and exhibition credits, please click here.

Concurrent Public Programs
On 2 February 2013, a transversal event joins together a set of thinkers so as to draw out just a few rich strands from the art and culture which bind Buddhist history. Curator Davide Quadrio will lead the audience through the visual narrative depicted in the 17th century Tibetan thangka, portraying Tsuglag Gyatso, the Third Pawo Rinpoche (c. 1567–1630). This painting—on loan from the Rubin Museum of Art, New York—references the origin of the tulku photographic portrait tradition and hangs in Witte de With’s galleries as a loadstone for the general exhibition. Expanding on the contemporary history of Buddhism in the West, artist Louwrien Wijers will in conversation, with art historian Arnisa Zeqo, trace early parallels between pre-Christian iconography and the Buddha’s image, punctuated by personal reflections on Wijers’s introduction of the 14th Dalai Lama to Joseph Beuys and the European art scene in the 1980s.

Between Seeing and Believing on 30 March 2013 will tackle a novel course and explore the faculty of imaging, both pictorially and descriptively, by focusing on how belief can be constructed through the process of envisioning. To this end, several scholars including Andrei Pop (Professor of Art History, University of Basel), Minou Schraven (Professor of Art History and Museum Studies, Amsterdam University College), Pascal Rousseau (Professor of Contemporary Art History, University of Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne), and Francesca Tarocco (Professor at New York University, Shanghai) present a short iconographic reading of a single image of their own choice respectively—collectively though, each of these images revolve around the idea of visions, be they found in dreams, hypnosis, hallucinations, representations of the afterlife, or other related themes.

Moderation(s) by Heman Chong
10 January 2013–9 March 2014
at Witte de With, Rotterdam and Spring, Hong Kong

Moderation(s) brings together an international group of artists, curators, and writers including A Constructed World, Nadim Abbas, Michael Lee, Christina Li, Eszter Salamon, and Koki Tanaka, who will participate in a year-long program of contemporary discourse and production between Witte de With and Spring, a recently established non-profit art initiative and residency in Hong Kong. Within this framework, Witte de With invited Heman Chong, a Singaporean artist, curator, and writer, to steer the program, which will involve more than fifty artists and engender a conference, three exhibitions, three residencies, and a book of short stories.

The first project to surface is Bibliotheek (Library), a list of books identified to function both as a bibliography for Moderation(s), as well as an ever-expanding common library that can be replicated easily by any individual, community, or institution. The first version of Bibliotheek (Library) can be downloaded here.

As part of Moderation(s), curatorial duo Latitudes—no strangers to Rotterdam, having curated Portscapes in collaboration with the Port of Rotterdam and SKOR in 2009—will station in Hong Kong during the month of January and produce Incidents of Travel, for which they invited artists Nadim Abbas, Ho Sin Tung, Yuk King Tan, and Samson Young, to develop day-long tours that articulate the city and their artistic practice through routes and waypoints. Initiated by Witte de With’s Director Defne Ayas in collaboration with Mimi Brown, founder of Spring, the program kicked off in August 2012 with a performative teaser entitled Guilty Pleasures by artist Ang Song Ming, who engaged the assembled audience as participants in the setting of a listening party at Spring, Hong Kong. For more information about the upcoming program, please click here.

Recently at Witte de With
On the use and influence of arts writing today 
28–29 November 2012

Featuring some of the brightest and most influential editors, critics, artists, and historians from across the globe including Ahu Antmen, Quinn Latimer, Aimee Lin, Carol Yinghua Lu, Sven Lütticken, Vivian Sky Rehberg, Domeniek Ruyters, Hrag Vartanian,  Barbara Visser, Anna Tilroe, and Brian Kuan Wood, the two-day summit kicked off with a provocative keynote by Jörg Heiser (Co-Editor, frieze) that linked together publishers Julian Assange and Mark Zuckerberg so as to question editorial oversight in our age of instant social-media updates. Rounded out by several panels, which took up topics such as the voice of the author, the myth of independence and the illusory goal of autonomy in the art world today, the symposium was co-hosted with the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, organized on the occasion of the 2012 Young Art Critic’s Prize and was preceded by a full-day writers clinic organized by Adam Kleinman at Witte de With. For more information about the august group of participants and to view the video recordings of the symposium, please click here.

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Kunstinstituut Melly
January 10, 2013

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