For decades, European countries assumed that China is a benign force in international relations.
Shaolin: Temple of Zen
An exhibition and publication that documents the exceptionally private warrior monks of the 1500 year old Shaolin Temple in the Henan province of China, renowned for its association with Zen Buddhism and martial arts.
Photographs by Justin Guariglia
With special kung fu and calligraphy demonstration by Shaolin Monk Shi De Chao from Henan, China, followed by a book signing hosted by Hennessey + Ingalls Art & Architecture Books.
Shaolin: Temple of Zen is an exhibition and publication that documents, for the first time in history, the exceptionally private warrior monks of the fifteen-hundred-year-old Shaolin Temple in the Henan province of China, renowned for its association with Zen Buddhism and martial arts. Comprised of 99 pieces, including 6 video installations, Shaolin: Temple of Zen brings to light the secretive society of the Chinese Buddhist sect dedicated to preserving a form of kung fu known as a "vehicle of Zen." Revealing the monks' devotional disciplines and capturing insightful portraits of the venerated warriors, the works offer an exclusive opportunity to explore the energy and spirit of Shaolin's unique practice. Guariglia's work explores the nature of 'qi' (pronounced chee), the concept of a universal energy, as well as the themes of ritual, spirituality, and Eastern philosophies through still photography and video. Carmen Winant of Philadelphia Weekly asserts that "the imagery simultaneously seethes with energy and casts a meditative silence. It evokes both the ancient and the contemporary." A student in China in the mid 90s, Guariglia took an interest in Taoist and Buddhist philosophies, spending eight years studying the mystery behind the Shaolin art form. He earned the trust of the Shaolin monks to create a compassionate record of the art form and those who are the keepers of these traditions. Notably, Guariglia's publication features a foreword written by the Abbot of the Shaolin Temple, Shi Yong Xin.
The exhibition and publication are organized by the Aperture foundation, a not-for-profit organization devoted to photography and the visual arts, and presented at the Ben Maltz Gallery at Otis College of Art and Design. Additional sponsorship provided by Hahnemühle Fine Art.
Tensions evident in the recent European Union-China virtual summit reflect the increasing skepticism in Europe toward China and the worries over Ukraine and economic ties as well as human rights and environmental issues.