Eternity - Longxing Temple Buddha Statue Part Three, Tang Dynasty Buddha Statue, Longxing Temple Buddha Statue part Five, Northern Qi Amitabha Statue, Vairochana, the Cosmic Buddha, Hebei Northern Qi Dynasty Standing Buddha Torso, Parthenon East Pediment
glass-fibre-reinforced concrete, artificial stone, steel, mineral pigments
502 x 1523 x 95 cm
Theatrical and visually arresting, Eternity (2013 – 2014) presents the viewer with a scene at once absurd and astonishing. The missing heads of ancient Greek sculptures – goddesses from the east pediment frieze of the Parthenon – are replaced with inverted Buddhist statues sourced from temples and museums across China; they appear to have dived headlong into symbols of Europe’s classical antiquity. The Greek figures were produced through 3D scanning and carving, a technology that produced moulds of great precision. The work evokes the hybrid culture in which Xu Zhen and his generation operate, an east/west fusion that recognises the significant external influences on Chinese contemporary art, but with a tongue-in-cheek attitude that deftly inverts – both literally and metaphorically – our expectations. Colonialism, plunder (referencing the saga of the Greek Elgin marbles in the British Museum) and global power struggles are represented in one memorable image.