Exhibition view at Elemental Light, TKG, Taipei, 2011

Black ink on driftwood
Dimensions variable

The Heart Sutra, a Buddhist text on the ephemeral is written in Chinese calligraphy on driftwood that were collected after a Typhoon (tropical storm in the region) in Taiwan. The final passage in this text describes moving forward towards the other side of shore where wisdom resides. The inscribed driftwood is a metaphor to help bring one towards the shore of wisdom.

Special thanks to Weilang, Stanley Yen, The Alliance Cultural Foundation of Taiwan, Paw Paw Drummers of Taitung

Feather Project

Feather Project (Details), 2011

Black ink on feathers and a circular mirror
2 meters

The installation is composed of a pile of scripted white feathers resting on a circular mirror. The texts on the feathers are phrases from Sufi poetry that read not only as romantic songs to a lover, but also symbolically celebrates the relationship between God and human. Reflection on the ceiling from the mirror mimics the axis between Heaven and Earth found in Islamic architecture while the feathers serve as messengers of transcendence.

The concept is inspired by an interest in Sufi music and poetry that leads to the experience of non-duality, a sense of unity, which uplifts our spirit beyond perceived knowledge and experience.

Scripted phrases from Sufi poetry on the feathers:

Like the rose, with my whole body I smile and not with my mouth alone;
Because I am, I without I, with the king of the world, alone.

During the night I embrace Your image.
At dawn the fragrance of flowers rises from my bed.

At the moment we saw your sun, we left all particles of dust behind us
On account of that Essence we left all attributes behind us.

My soul and my heart have been captivated by the beauty of the name of God.
My thirsty lips have been comforted by the pure water of the name of God.

All through eternity
Beauty unveils His exquisite form
in the solitude of nothingness;
He holds a mirror to His face
and beholds His own beauty.

He is the knower and the known,
the seer and the seen;
No eye but His own
has ever looked upon this Universe.

Whenever Beauty looks,
Love is also there;
Wherever beauty shows a rosy cheek,

Love lights Her fire from that flame.

We are as the flute, and the music in us is from Thee;
We are as the mountain and the echo in us is from Thee.

Gone I~VII

Gone IV

Hand-inscribed photograph
111x148cm (image), 121x158cm (with border)

The photographs of the series Gone, all unique prints, capture the phenomenon of the dissemination of light when the camera malfunctions. Taken in Brisbane, Australia, with a camera with a broken lens, the photographs show an accidental beauty that results when relieved from the need to control perception. Charwei Tsai inscribed a mantra, found at the end of the Heart Sutra, a text that has become a motif in the artist’s work, onto the diffusion of light. This mantra is often recited orally, almost like a spell, or presented visually in mandalas as an aid to move forward, to be freed from attachments.

Categorized as Photography