MAO Asian Art Museum, Turin

Seated Buddha with hands in Uttarabodhi mudra, China, Shanxi or Shaanxi province, Ming Dynasty 1368–1644.

October 17, 2022
A fragmented display on Buddhist visual evolution
October 20, 2022–September 3, 2023
Public program: October 19, 2022–April 27, 2023
MAO Asian Art Museum, Turin
via San Domenico, 11
10122 Torino
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 10am–6pm
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How were the ritual objects in the MAO permanent collection originally used and perceived, and what did they mean? Why and how did they enter the museum’s as well as other Asian art museums collections in Europe? And further: what are the issues raised by conservation and restoration, often informed by aesthetic prerogatives and methods that changed over time? And what is the relationship between Buddhism and new technologies?

These are the questions underpinning the new exhibition Buddha^10. A fragmented display on Buddhist visual evolution, a project that starts from the works in the permanent collection and takes a broader look at issues that touch upon the museum, its collections, and what it means to manage, preserve, and showcase Asian artistic heritage in a western context.

In an essential and evocative layout in the galleries for temporary exhibitions, more than twenty large wood and stone Buddhist statues from different periods (between the 5th and 19th centuries) from the MAO collection will be displayed alongside a few sculptures—including over 30 votive bronzes from the Auriti collection as well as two extraordinary stone heads from the Tang Dynasty —from the Museo delle Civiltà, Rome, and a major loan from the Museo d’Arte Orientale E. Chiossone, Genoa.

Some of the works will be placed in dialogue with one another, others in contrast, in a dialectical and diachronic relationship that opens reflection on multiple themes: the relationship between true and false and between science and religion, the ability of restoration to either reveal or conceal, the way two different types of restoration can profoundly alter two similar works, the role played by light in the perception of artworks, and much more. Visitors will also be offered a VR experience of Cave 17 of the Buddhist complex of Tianlongshan, realised in collaboration with the University of Chicago .
The exhibition will begin with a site-specific project by the botanist and scholar Stefano Mancuso, professor at the University of Florence and founder of the International Laboratory of Plant Neurobiology, and the artist and designer Andrea Anastasio, who together created a garden designed to welcome visitors and purify the air

To support this dynamic, intercultural approach, the exhibition will be enriched by works by contemporary artists, offering new interpretations on the museum’s collection, its use, and its public reception.  Artists include Lu Yang, Xu Zhen, Wu Chi-Tzung, Charwei Tsai, and Zheng Bo, among others, whose works will be an integral part of the exhibition. In particular, Zheng Bo’s installation Drawing Life is also part of the exhibition The Mountain Touch at the Museo della Montagna, while Charwei Tsai’s Ah! is one of three installations in the project So Will Your Voice Vibrate created for Artissima Internazionale d’Arte Contemporanea, Turin, in collaboration with GAM and Palazzo Madama. The exhibition will be further enriched by site-specific projects and musical performances by Italian and international artists, including Lee Mingwei and Amosphère.

The exhibition will benefit from a close collaboration with the Venaria Reale center for restoration, as well as scholarly contributions from experts in various fields, including Puay-Peng Ho, Director of the Department of Architecture, Design, and Environment, University of Singapore; Wu Hung, Harrie A. Vanderstappen Distinguished Service Professor of Art History and the College and Adjunct Curator, Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago; Laura Vigo, Curator of Asian Art and Archaeology, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and Professor of Chinese Art, Université de Montréal, Canada; Maria Luisa Giorgi, Curator, Museo delle Civiltà, Rome; Loretta Paderni, Curator, Museo delle Civiltà, Rome; You Mi, Professor of Art and Economies, University of Kassel/documenta Institute; Francesca Tarocco, Professor of Buddhist studies and Chinese religions and Director of The NICHE at Ca’ Foscari University, Venice; Filippo Comisi, Contract Professor of Chinese Archaeology and Art History, University of Macerata; Claudia Ramasso, Curator, Southern Asia and South-East Asia, MAO Museo d’Arte Orientale, Turin.

Public program “Evolving Soundscapes” reservation required at eventiMAO [​at​] fondazionetorinomusei.it. Complete program details here.

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MAO Asian Art Museum, Turin
October 17, 2022

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