National Gallery of Australia | Audio Tour | The National Sculpture Prize and Exhibition 2005

Lachlan WARNER, Buddha of infinite directions 2004-05



It has often been observed that when westerners come to Buddhism, those brought up Catholic are drawn to the colourful Tibetan practices and those brought up Protestant go for the more austere Theravadan styles of Thailand and Burma. I’m an exception to that idea. Around 1997 I became interested in Buddhist thought. Inevitably, I thought about making work around Buddhist meditation practice, as many western artists have. Later I was more fascinated by the imagery that the texts bring up, and their political and social implications. The Buddha taught using strong visual metaphor. There are constantly ideas and images brought to mind for me that hopefully, and ironically, lead me into areas where words and intellect can’t hope to go, Nibbana! I later started thinking about the Buddha image itself. This face that I could rest in. What did it mean for me, as a westerner, brought up with the Abrahamic coalition’s distain for idols? And what of all those decorator Buddhas that pop up in design magazines? As Budd