TRUE NATURE – A STILL LIFE & DEATH DRAWING MEDITATION
Elaine Su-Hui (USA)
Curated by Heather Jones (USA)
Several drawing sessions with Elaine Su-Hui were taking place during the first week of the exhibition.
MAY 10. - JUNE 8., 2019
Photo: Jan Inge Haga
True Nature: A Still Life and Death Drawing Experience
So you should view this fleeting world --
As a star at dawn, a bubble in a stream,
A flash of lightning in a summer cloud,
A flickering lamp, a phantom, a dream.
–The Diamond Sutra
Prosjektrom Normanns is proud to present True Nature, a long durational drawing meditation by Inner Fields NY, curated by Heather Jones. Inner Fields is a roaming, experimental art project founded in 2015 by Elaine Su-Hui.
True Nature seeks to expand the traditional exhibition format and functions as a space for community gathering, philosophical contemplation, and meditation exploring the truth of impermanence – one of the fundamental truths of the Buddhist philosophy upon which Inner Fields is structured. The central focus of the installation is a large arrangement of cut flowers, plants and branches, created in collaboration with local floral designer Stilken og Strøm, and the surrounding natural environment.
Throughout the duration of the month-long installation, visitors are strongly encouraged to visit the space on multiple occasions, to study, observe and draw the decomposition of the centerpiece as it gradually dies. Artist and founder of Inner Fields, Elaine Su-Hui, will host several intimate drawing meditation sessions during her time in Stavanger in order to facilitate deep observation and philosophical inquiry around the topic of impermanence and its impact on how we live. No experience in drawing or meditation is necessary. Though rooted in Buddhism, these gatherings eschew any specific ideology and rather emphasize the natural laws which govern all phenomena, and the deep compassion for all life that comes from these truths. The artwork exists not in the objects present in the gallery, but rather in the visitors’ participation in the space and with one another through observation, drawing, discussion and meditation.
In order to ground the meditative space created in the gallery, Su-Hui has created large Compass Yantra paintings specifically for Prosjektrom Normanns using only natural pigments. Yantras, also known as mandalas, are geometric temple designs traditionally used to aid meditation and honor deities. The Compass Yantras presented here are a tool to reorient viewers back to our root home, the Earth itself.
A fundamental part of Inner Fields is a practice known as dana (free-will giving). It is an invitation for intentional generosity that encourages visitors to contemplate their sense of abundance and scarcity, and what it means to share. The collected funds generally go towards the next Inner Fields gathering, so each gathering is a gift given by the preceding group. The specific amount of funds raised is not important, but the ethos of free giving is vital to the experience of Inner Fields. A dana box exists in the gallery, as a physical representation of this practice.
"It's in this spirit that I offer this project / Inner Fields – not as a teacher or as any kind of authority, but as someone who is exploring my own delusion and ignorance as best as I possibly can. My work is very much my own journey along this path, while hoping I can inspire others to continue along their own."
Elaine Su-Hui (b. 1978, Sydney, Australia) makes prints and drawings about ecology and consciousness. She often works under the umbrella organization Inner Fields NY, an experimental art project exploring Buddhist and Taoist philosophy through collaborative community gatherings that she founded in 2015. In these sessions, Su-Hui collaborates with artists, musicians, meditation instructors and other practitioners to facilitate discussion and emphasize our inseparable, ecological relationship to each other and our environment. All are welcome regardless of faith, orientation, background or experience.
Heather Jones is an independent curator, co-founder and Editor of Contemporary Art Stavanger (CAS). She previously served as Assistant Curator at Kunsthall Stavanger, Exhibitions Manager at Independent Curators International (ICI), New York, a Master Apprentice at the studio of Sol Lewitt and Studio Manager for the artist Swoon.
Artwork displayed as part of True Nature is for sale through Prosjektrom Normanns. A percentage of sales will be gifted to the Buddhist Global Relief. Inquire for prices, and visit www.buddhistglobalrelief.org to learn more about the organization’s mission and activities.