Dr.Jie Li-Elbrächter, 2019. October
“ANATMAN ART”“Anatman” is an attempt to reduce unnecessary “Ego”. Instead of embracing the “success” through the eyes of others as motivation, we should focus on our heart and find our own balance. We should consider giving as the “seed” and focus less on the “fruit”. Many people do Sādhanā(Practice) to reduce ego.
The term “Sādhanā/Practice” means “accomplishing” something through action in many different spiritual areas. This “Practice” is mentioned in such religions as Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism andSikhism, and in various fields in various countries.
The “Practice” in “ANATMAN ART” has nothing to do with religion. It is a Practice through art. A monk practices by chanting sutras millions of times. A painter practices by repeating millions of brush strokes. Any means is a tool to achieve “Anatman”.
Life itself is complete, self-sufficient and has everything, without any external forces. Sakyamuni said that everyone has Buddha nature.
Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki introduced Zen into the West in the 1950s, opening the door of contemporary art. At this point, Western art changed from the classical theology art, modern art to the contemporary art which pays more attention to society and the public. Thus, as Beuys’ famous saying goes, everyone is an artist.
ANATMAN ART is new term of art. Among the participants in 2019 ANATMAN ART, some are Tulku, famous artists, and successful entrepeneurs. But none of them really care about these titles. However, they all sincerely practice art through their daily lives.
As words are weak, we have to use some labels as adjectives or suffixes to make the audience better understand. The expression of art allows the audience to understand more objectively the works of each participant displayed in this exhibition,and understand their thinking and cognition of life, humanity, nature and the universe.
The idea of “ANATMAN ART” has been around for years, but it hasn’t been realized. I had the first draft when I was working on the seminar Buddhism and Contemporary Art in 2017. With the blessing of seemingly accidental external forces, the brainstorm produced by various spiritual practitioners, “ANATMAN ART” presents the audience an opportunity and space to meditate deeply on the “Anatman”.
Practice is a continuous, spiraling process. “ANATMAN ART”— PRACTICE THROUGH ART, will also continue.