Simple yet profound, spontaneous yet controlled, the art of Zen Buddhism is intended to communicate the vision of Zen masters and to reveal the essence of Zen. From June to August 2006, the Art Gallery of New South Wales will exhibit 80 works of Zen ink painting and calligraphy drawn from the remarkable private collection of Dr Kurt A. Gitter and Alice Rae Yelen.
The exhibition will provide an introduction to the art of Zenga, literally ‘zen painting’, a term that refers to the ink painting and calligraphy created by Zen monks in Japan from 1600 to the present day.
Zenga were used as a tool for meditation and spiritual teaching, and subjects range from fierce-looking Zen patriarchs to minimal landscapes, from intense calligraphy to whimsical illustrations of Zen conundrums. Characterised by their dynamic brushstrokes and often humorous images, these inspired works were mostly created by untrained painters who were monks first and artists second.
The exhibition will include zenga by the greatest Zen masters, such as the monks Fugai, Hakuin and Sengai, as well as works by Zen-inspired laymen and by monks from other Buddhist sects.
This exhibition is part of a rich program of Japanese exhibitions planned for the 2006 Australia-Japan Year of Exchange.