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An Eternal Cycle: Paradise and Purgatory – at Mokspace

Mokspace is maintaining a cracking pace of exhibitions. The next one, of Buddhist art, runs 14 October till 10 November:

Mokspace is pleased to present the Buddhist Painting exhibition “An Eternal Cycle: Paradise and Purgatory” with artists Seoyoung Park and Songnyeo Lyoo.

An Eternal Cycle - poster

Man has tried to understand the mystery of death since he first walked earth. Most religions have suggested different interpretations of death and what it entails. As for Buddhists, we can gain some appreciate their view through Buddhist paintings.

In Buddhism, death is a process needed for rebirth. The mystery of what happens after death can also be realised in their paintings. The paintings depict the Great King Yomna (염라대왕), and the other 9 kings of Hell judging whether people go the Paradise or Purgatory.

This exhibition divides Heaven and Hell physically, appropriately hosting the Heaven based paintings on the upper floor and the Hell based work in the basement therefore providing the audience moving from one state to the other. In one work, Seoyoung Park has replicated a traditional Buddhist Hell painting from the Joseon Dynasty and Songnyeo Lyoo has created a contemporary interpretation of Buddhist Paradise paintings.

Seoyoung Park has created the paintings for this exhibition with a wish; she wants the remainder of her life and her life after death to be peaceful and innocent. Therefore she has decided to create paintings to influence others to repent for their trivial mistakes that many people usually unconsciously ignore. Her concern is that these mistakes may have impacted more on other people in society than we realise.

Seoyoung Park’s paintings of Hell are based on works from the Joseon Dynasty, whilst the Amitabha Triad paintings are based on work from the Goryeo Period.

Songnyeo Lyoo has painted paradise as if it were a festival whilst retaining the format of a traditional Buddhist painting. Although her paradise may or may not exist, it is an ideal place she craves to go to and live. As she has projected herself into the painting, we too are incited to do the same, for a better understanding of what Lyoo’s view of paradise is. This also helps excite our curiosity and imagination giving us a taste of paradise.

Buddhist paintings were originally enshrined in Buddhist temples for worship, but in this exhibition they can be appreciated as pure works of art but with an intrinsic religious character. This exhibition encourages people to understand Buddhist paintings as an artistic expression of the teachings of Buddha. It is a chance to look back and into one’s life, and think about ‘Samsara’, the eternal cycle of birth, death and rebirth.

33, Museum Street, London WC1A 1LH (In front of The British Museum)
Tel: +44 (0)754 5004 097

(automatically generated) Read LKL’s review of this event here.

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