The Rubin is transforming. Read important updates from our Executive Director.
close-button

Charwei TSAI

Reimagine: Himalayan Art Now

March 15–October 6, 2024

Photo courtesy of the artist
Photo courtesy of the artist

LISTEN TO THE ARTIST

 

ABOUT THE ARTIST

Charwei TSAI (she/her)

b. 1980, Taipei, Taiwan; lives in Paris, France; works in Paris, France, and Taipei, Taiwan

Charwei TSAI explores the relationship between humans and nature in her multimedia practice, meditating on universal concerns and complexities at the intersection of cultural belief, spirituality, and transience. Geographical, social, and spiritual motifs inform her work, and she encourages viewer participation beyond complacent contemplation, such as by making offerings or lighting incense. 

Charwei TSAI graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design in industrial design and art and architectural history (2002), and the postgraduate research program La Seine at L’École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris (2010). Recent projects and exhibitions include Soft and Weak Like Water, Gwangju Biennale (2023); World Classroom: Contemporary Art through School Subjects, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan (2023); a performance at Climat: quelle culture pour quel futur?, Centre Pompidou, Paris (2022); and The Eye is the First Circle, Philosophical Research Society, Los Angeles (2022).

 

ABOUT THE ARTWORK IN REIMAGINE

Charwei TSAI; The Womb & The Diamond; 2021; handblown glass, mirrors, and diamond installation; courtesy of the artist; Photo by David de Armas

Charwei TSAI; The Womb & The Diamond; 2021; handblown glass, mirrors, and diamond installation; courtesy of the artist

The Womb & The Diamond comprises over a thousand pieces of glass and mirrors representing the duality of chaos and order in all-encompassing space. The Womb mandala symbolizes the possibility of buddhahood in all beings, and the Diamond mandala is the guide to the spiritual practice that can lead to enlightenment. In the Tantric Buddhist or Tibetan Buddhist tradition, Vairochana is the central deity in the Womb mandala.

Charwei TSAI partnered with renowned Buddhist teacher Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche to create the womb-like glass pieces, using his breath and the sound vibration of him reciting the Dependent Arising mantra, which speaks to the interconnectedness of all things, to make each one. The Dependent Arising mantra explains that everything is dependent on multiple causes and conditions; nothing exists as a singular, independent entity—everything is interconnected. The artist placed a diamond in the center of the composition to represent indestructibility.

Charwei TSAI shares her creative process and the personal pilgrimages that inspired the artwork in this video.

 

RELATED RUBIN OBJECT

Sarvavid Vairochana Mandala; Tibet; 17th century; pigments on cloth; Rubin Museum of Art; gift of Shelley and Donald Rubin; C2006.66.346 (HAR 773)

This object from the Rubin Museum’s collection is presented in the Reimagine exhibition in dialogue with The Womb & The Diamond, inviting new ways of encountering traditional Himalayan art.

Learn more.

 

ABOUT THE ARTWORKS IN REIMAGINE

Charwei TSAI; Tara from Five Sky Dancers; 2021; drawing with natural pigment extract from malachite and ink on rice paper; Collection of Live Forever Foundation, Taiwan; Photo by David de Armas

 

Charwei TSAI; Pandara from Five Sky Dancers; 2021; drawing with natural pigment extract from cinnabar and ink on rice paper; Collection of Live Forever Foundation, Taiwan; Photo by David de Armas

 

Charwei TSAI; Locanā from Five Sky Dancers; 2021; drawing with natural pigment extract from azurite and ink on rice paper; Collection of Live Forever Foundation, Taiwan; Photo by David de Armas

The Five Wisdom Dakinis, or Sky Dancers, embody both humanity and divinity in feminine form, representing the ever-changing flow of energy. Although they are traditionally shown personified, Charwei TSAI chose to reimagine the essence of the dakinis abstractly, using the color associated with each one with their individual mantra written within the swirl of color. Three of the five drawings from the series are displayed in the exhibition. The red drawing is associated with the Padma dakini who represents the west and the element of fire.

 

RELATED RUBIN OBJECT

Mandala of Vajrayogini; Tibet; 19th century; ground mineral pigment on wood; Rubin Museum of Art; gift of Shelley and Donald Rubin; C2006.66.532 (HAR 1008)

This object from the Rubin Museum’s collection is presented in the Reimagine exhibition in dialogue with Five Sky Dancers, inviting new ways of encountering traditional Himalayan art.

Learn more.

 

Charwei Tsai’s The Womb & The Diamond is supported in part by the Taipei Cultural Center in New York.


Recommended For You

    zoom