Kunstmuseum Basel | Neubau
Free of charge
Tibetan monks from the Namgyal Monastery in Dharamsala, India, are creating a Kalachakra Mandala (Sanskrit: The Wheel of Time) in an elaborate process lasting several weeks at Kunstmuseum Basel. The Kalachakra Mandala represents a three-dimensional palace where every single detail has a symbolic meaning. The mandala can be imagined as a complex two-dimensional "painting" based on secret knowledge, consisting of countless colored grains of sand.
The mandala is being created on the occasion of the ongoing solo exhibition Charmion von Wiegand (25.3–13.8) and is intended to highlight the great importance of Buddhism for the American artist. Her commitment to the mediation of Tibetan culture became an important public task for Charmion von Wiegand. In 1969 she curated an exhibition of Tibetan art on behalf of the American Federation of Arts. In 1975, Charmion von Wiegand became a board member of the first Tibet Center in New York, newly founded by Khyongla Rato Rinpoche (1923–2021). Works such as Offering of the Universe (1964) and To the Adi Buddha (1968–70) can be traced back to certain symbolisms through which she expressed her own spiritual experiences of Tibetan altars in a painterly way. The bold, colourful forms in works such as Offering the Universe (1964) are based on depictions of the "vajra", a kind of scepter.
The creation of the Kalachakra Mandala in the Eventfoyer of Kunstmuseum Basel | Neubau is intended to make it possible to experience the deep meaning of Buddhism, which it held for the artist. From July 25, visitors will be able to observe and follow the development of the mandala on a daily basis. At certain times of the day, the four monks of the Namgyal Monastery are available for conversation. In order to introduce the audience to the culture and formal world of the mandala in the most differentiated way possible, the Swiss guest curator Martin Brauen, author of the book Mandala: Sacred Circle in Tibetan Buddhism (2009), among others, will develop a scenography with showcases containing explanatory images and texts, as well as films. Guided tours, film screenings, a book presentation, talks and musical performances allow visitors to approach the mandala, Buddhism and the work of Charmion von Wiegand from different perspectives.
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