December 28, 2023 - January 28, 2024
About the Artist:
Xingrui Xu (b.1995; China, Kunshan) lives and works in Chicago, Illinois. He studied at the San Francisco Art Institute, his MFA in Ceramics from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2022. Xingrui expands and develops an engagement with ceramics, paintings, and the conditions for its contemporary practice.
Scattered along the floor, images of the Buddhas in this exhibit appear to have been desecrated. This scene is familiar to practitioners of Buddhism, a religion that has endured waves of persecution throughout its long history. The Buddha is arguably the most widely recognized figure from any Asian religion. Buddhists have long held the belief that the image of the Buddha houses its essence. For over a thousand years, Buddhist sculptures have undergone consecration ceremonies in which the essence, or spirit, of the Buddha enters the image. From that moment, the image is no longer just a sculpture or a work of art. It is venerated and treated as though it is the Buddha himself. However, under the modern Western eye, the Buddha has become a commercialized icon, void of spirit. In this exhibit, the physical destruction of the Buddha sculptures also mirrors the destruction of the true meaning of the Buddha image. Xingrui's Buddha heads have been severed from their bodies, as the religious significance of the Buddha has been severed from the modern Western representation of the Buddha. This exhibit echoes the history of Buddhist persecution and iconoclasm in the East. It reflects the emptiness of the Buddha image as it has been commercialized in the West.
This exhibit is co-curated by Dee Lyu and Miranda Ferries.